Acute phase proteins (APPs) are a group of circulating plasma proteins which undergo changes quantitatively or qualitatively at the time of inflammation. Many of these APPs are glycosylated, and it has been shown that alterations in glycosylation may occur in inflammatory and malignant conditions. Changes in glycosylation have been studied as potential biomarkers in cancer and also in chronic inflammatory conditions and have been shown to correlate with disease severity in certain conditions. Serine protease inhibitors (serpins), many of which are also APPs, are proteins involved in the control of proteases in numerous pathways. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) is the most abundant serpin within the circulation and is an APP which has been shown to increase in response to inflammation. The primary role of AAT is maintaining the protease/antiprotease balance in the lung, but it also possesses important anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. Several glycoforms of AAT exist, and they possess differing properties in regard to plasma half-life and stability. Glycosylation may also be important in determining the immune modulatory properties of AAT. The review will focus on the role and importance of glycosylation in acute phase proteins with particular attention to AAT and its use as a biomarker of disease. The review describes the processes involved in glycosylation, how glycosylation changes in differing disease states, and the alterations that occur to glycans of APPs with disease and inflammation. Finally, the review explores the importance of changes in glycosylation of AAT at times of inflammation and in malignant conditions and how this may impact upon the functions of AAT.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->