Synthetic oligosaccharides can replace animal-sourced low–molecular weight heparins

Yongmei Xu, Kasemsiri Chandarajoti, Xing Zhang, Vijayakanth Pagadala, Wenfang Dou, Debra Moorman Hoppensteadt, Erica M. Sparkenbaugh, Brian Cooley, Sharon Daily, Nigel S. Key, Diana Severynse-Stevens, Jawed Fareed, Robert J. Linhardt, Rafal Pawlinski, Jian Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Low–molecular weight heparin (LMWH) is used clinically to treat clotting disorders. As an animal-sourced product, LMWH is a highly heterogeneous mixture, and its anticoagulant activity is not fully reversible by protamine. Furthermore, the reliability of the LMWH supply chain is a concern for regulatory agencies. We demonstrate the synthesis of heparin dodecasaccharides (12-mers) at the gram scale. In vitro experiments demonstrate that the anticoagulant activity of the 12-mers could be reversed using protamine. One of these, labeled as 12-mer-1, reduced the size of blood clots in the mouse model of deep vein thrombosis and attenuated circulating procoagulant markers in the mouse model of sickle cell disease. An ex vivo experiment demonstrates that the anticoagulant activity of 12-mer-1 could be reversed by protamine. 12-mer-1 was also examined in a nonhuman primate model to determine its pharmacodynamic parameters. A 7-day toxicity study in a rat model showed no toxic effects. The data suggest that a synthetic homogeneous oligosaccharide can replace animal-sourced LMWHs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaan5954
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number406
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


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