The involvement of heparan sulfate proteoglycans in stem cell differentiation and in malignant glioma

  • Soumi Kundu
  • Anqi Xiong
  • Karin Forsberg-NilssonEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Focus Point on the Physics of Cancer


Heparan sulfate (HS) proteoglycans (HSPG) are major components of the extracellular matrix. They interact with a plethora of macromolecules that are of physiological importance. The pattern of sulfation of the HS chain determines the specificity of these interactions. The enzymes that synthesize and degrade HS are thus key regulators of processes ranging from embryonic development to tissue homeostasis and tumor development. Formation of the nervous system is also critically dependent on appropriate HSPGs as shown by several studies on the role of HS in neural induction from embryonic stem cells. High-grade glioma is the most common primary malignant brain tumor among adults, and the prognosis is poor. Neural and glioma stem cells share several traits, including sustained proliferation and highly efficient migration in the brain. There are also similarities between the neurogenic niche where adult neural stem cells reside and the tumorigenic niche, including their interactions with components of the extracellular matrix (ECM). The levels of many of these components, for example HSPGs and enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and modification of HS are attenuated in gliomas. In this paper, HS regulation of pathways involved in neural differentiation and how these may be of importance for brain development are discussed. The literature suggesting that modifications of HS could regulate glioma growth and invasion is reviewed. Targeting the invasiveness of glioma cells by modulating HS may improve upon present therapeutic options, which only marginally enhance the survival of glioma patients.


Glioma Cell Neural Stem Cell Heparan Sulfate Sulfation Embryoid Body 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soumi Kundu
    • 1
  • Anqi Xiong
    • 1
  • Karin Forsberg-Nilsson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, and Science for Life Laboratory, Rudbeck LaboratoryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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