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Heparin is a potent clinically used anticoagulant. It is a heterogeneous mixture of polymers that contain a variety of sulfation patterns. However, only 3-O sulfonated heparin pentasaccharide units have been proven to bind to antithrombin and elicit an anticoagulant response. Heparins with other sulfation patterns are able to bind to a variety of other proteins such as FGF, VEGF, and CXCL-3. By modulating heparin's sulfation pattern, it is possible to generate polymers that can regulate biological processes beyond hemostasis. Here we describe a variety of simple chemical modification methods, N-acetylation, N-deacetylation, N-sulfation, O-sulfation, 2-O desulfation, and complete desulfation, to prepare heparin-like polymers with distinct sulfation patterns.


Karthik Raman, Balagurunathan Kuberan, Sailaja Arungundram. Chemical modification of heparin and heparosan. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2015;1229:31-6

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PMID: 25325941

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