Inhibition of inflammation induced shedding of the endothelial glycocalyx with low molecular weight heparin

Herbert H. Lipowsky, Anne Lescanic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The endothelial surface layer (ESL) consists of the endothelial cell (EC) glycocalyx and adsorbed proteins, and forms a barrier between blood and the EC. Enzymatic shedding of the ESL in response to cytokines may expose receptors for leukocyte (WBC) adhesion and increase vascular permeability. Thus, intravital microscopy was used to explore stabilization of the ESL with low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) to mitigate structural changes with inflammation. Following bolus infusions (i.v.) of LMWH (0.12–1.6 mg/kg), shedding of glycans in response to 10− 7 M fMLP was measured by loss of fluorescently labeled lectins bound to the EC and WBC-EC adhesion was monitored in post-capillary venules of rat mesentery. During a 30 min exposure to fMLP, a 50% reduction in fluorescence (indicative of glycan shedding) occurred at the lowest dose of LMWH whereas a 50% increase occurred (indicative of ESL compaction) at the highest dose. Shedding was reduced by LMWH in a dose dependent manner with an EC50 of 0.6 mg/kg. Concomitant WBC-EC adhesion increased over 3-fold for all doses of LMWH. However, at a dose of 1.6 mg/kg, WBC-EC adhesion did not rise significantly during the initial 10 min exposure to fMLP. Correlation of WBC adhesion with intensity of the lectin stain for all measurements revealed a significant 40% reduction in adhesion as intensity increased 50%. This relationship was attributed to LMWH inhibition of heparanase and/or binding to components of the glycocalyx that resulted in mitigation of glycan shedding, compaction of the lectin stain and stabilization of the glycocalyx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalMicrovascular Research
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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