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Heparin and heparan sulfate belong to the glycosaminoglycan family. Heparin which is known as a powerful anticoagulant has been also described to have potential in therapeutic applications such as in the treatment against cancer and prevention of virus infections. Heparan sulfate, an analog of heparin, which is not used for medical purposes yet, was reported to have the same pharmaceutical potential as heparin. Both heparin and heparan sulfate share a common precursor molecule known as heparosan. Heparosan determines the polymer chain length and the sugar unit backbone composition, which are determinant structural parameters for the biological activity of heparin and heparan sulfate. In this review we give an overview of the different methods used to synthesize heparosan, and we highlight the pro and cons of each method in respect to the synthesis of bioengineered heparin-like molecules. Advancements in the field of the synthesis of bioengineered heparin are also reported. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Anaïs A E Chavaroche, Lambertus A M van den Broek, Gerrit Eggink. Production methods for heparosan, a precursor of heparin and heparan sulfate. Carbohydrate polymers. 2013 Mar 1;93(1):38-47

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PMID: 23465899

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