Acidic mammalian chitinase (CHIA) belongs to the 18-glycosidase family and is expressed in epithelial cells and certain immune cells (such as neutrophils and macrophages) in various organs. Under physiological conditions, as a hydrolase, CHIA can degrade chitin-containing pathogens, participate in Type 2 helper T (Th2)-mediated inflammation, and enhance innate and adaptive immunity to pathogen invasion. Under pathological conditions, such as rhinitis, ocular conjunctivitis, asthma, chronic atrophic gastritis, type 2 diabetes, and pulmonary interstitial fibrosis, CHIA expression is significantly changed. In addition, studies have shown that CHIA has an anti-apoptotic effect, promotes epithelial cell proliferation and maintains organ integrity, and these effects are not related to chitinase degradation. CHIA can also be used as a biomolecular marker in diseases such as chronic atrophic gastritis, dry eye, and acute kidney damage caused by sepsis. Analysis of the authoritative TCGA database shows that CHIA expression in gastric adenocarcinoma, liver cancer, renal clear cell carcinoma and other tumors is significantly downregulated compared with that in normal tissues, but the specific mechanism is unclear. This review is based on all surveys conducted to date and summarizes the expression patterns and functional diversity of CHIA in various organs. Understanding the physiological and pathophysiological relevance of CHIA in multiple organs opens new possibilities for disease treatment.
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.. All rights reserved.