This is a group of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). These carbohydrate-recognizing proteins bind to the surface of certain types of cells in the body including leukocytes and often serve as a “binding agent” between these cells and other cells. There are three types of selectins:
All these subsets of Selectin are found on the surface of various cell types in the body. E-Selectin is short for endothelial Selectins which often bind to endothelial cells. L-Selectin binds leukocyte cells, while the P-Selectin binds to blood platelets and endothelial cells.
These proteins have been found in parts of the body where there are significant inflammatory issues. So, if you have a lot of inflammation in your body, these are likely to be found in abundance at the sites of the inflammation.
Apart from inflammation, selectins have been linked to health conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and arteriosclerosis. There are speculations that it might even play a role in rapid cancer metastasis.
The studies on selectins are still pretty limited, but future studies might be able to reveal its real role, and maybe understanding this role might lead to breakthroughs in the treatment of certain types of cancers and inflammatory disease.
Whether they help worsen the condition or help with the recovery still remains to be seen, although some studies point to the possibility of selectins being used for the regenerative treatment of bone problems like osteoporosis.