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Mini Rev Med Chem. 2003 Nov;3(7):659-67.

The potential of the molecular diversity of heparin and heparan sulfate for drug development.

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  • 1Chemical Research Center, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, H-1525 Budapest, P.O.Box 17, Hungary.


Heparin and heparan sulfate have been shown to interact with a large number of biologically important proteins regulating important physiological processes. Specific oligosaccharide structures within the heterogeneous polysaccharide chains are responsible for the binding to individual proteins. Identification of specific protein-binding oligosaccharides provides lead compounds in pharmaceutical development and in one case has already resulted in an approved drug. The chemical and biosynthetic basis of the molecular diversity of heparin and heparan sulfate, its manifestation in heparin-protein interactions, and recent progress for drug development offered by this diversity are reviewed.

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