Murine macrophage heparanase: Inhibition and comparison with metastatic tumor cells

Naphtali Savion*, Marie‐Helene ‐H Disatnik, Zvi Nevo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Circulating macrophages and metastatic tumor cells can penetrate the vascular endothelium and migrate from the circulatory system to extravascular compartments. Both activated murine macrophages and different metastatic tumor cells (B16‐BL6 melanoma; ESb T‐lymphoma) attach, invade, and penetrate confluent vascular endothelial cell monolyaer in vitro, by degrading heparan sulfate proteoglycans in the subendothelial extracellular matrix. The sensitivity of the enzymes from the various sources degrading the heparan sulfate proteoglycan was challenged and compared by a series of inhibitors. Activated macrophages demonstrate a heparanase with an endoglycosidase activity that cleaves from the [35S]O4 = ‐labeled heparan sulfate proteoglycans of the extracellular matrix 10 kDa glycosaminoglycan fragments. The macrophages do not store the heparanase intacellularly but it is instead found pericellularly and requires a continuous cell‐matrix contract at the optimal pH for maintaining cell growth. The degradation of [35S]O4=‐labeled extracellular matrix proteoglycans by the macrophages' heparanase is significantly inhibited in the presence of heparan sulfate (10 μg/ml), arteparon (10 μg/ml), and heparin at a concentration of 3 μg/ml. In contrast, other glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid, dermatan sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate as well as the specific inhibitor of exo‐β‐glucuronidase D‐saccharic acid 1,4‐lactone failed to inhibit the degradation of sulfated proteoglycans in the subendothelial extracellular matrix. Degradation of this heparan sulfate proteoglycan is a two‐step sequential process involving protease activity followed by heparanase activity. However, the following antiproteases—α2‐macroglobulin, antithrombin III, leupeptin, and phenylmethylsulfony fluoride (PMSF)—failed to inhibit this degradation process, and only α1‐antitrypsin inhibited the heparanase activity. B16‐BL6 metastatic melanoma cell heparanase, which is also a cell‐associated enzyme, was inhibited by heparin to the same extent as the macrophage heparanase. On the other hand, heparanase of the highly metastatic variant (ESb) of a methylcholanthrene‐induced T lymphoma, which is an extracellular enzyme released by the cells to the incubation medium, was more sensitive to heparin and arteparon than the macrophages' heparanase, inhibited at concentrations of 1 and 3 μ/ml, respectively. These results may indicate the potential use of heparin or other glycosaminoglycans as specific and differential inhibitors for the formation in certain cases of blood‐borne tumor metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987


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