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J Biol Chem. 2001 Mar 30;276(13):9755-61. Epub 2000 Dec 27.

Hypersulfated low molecular weight heparin with reduced affinity for antithrombin acts as an anticoagulant by inhibiting intrinsic tenase and prothrombinase.

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Hamilton Civic Hospitals Research Centre and Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8V 1C3, Canada.


In buffer systems, heparin and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) directly inhibit the intrinsic factor X-activating complex (intrinsic tenase) but have no effect on the prothrombin-activating complex (prothrombinase). Although chemical modification of LMWH, to lower its affinity for antithrombin (LA-LMWH) has no effect on its ability to inhibit intrinsic tenase, N-desulfation of LMWH reduces its activity 12-fold. To further explore the role of sulfation, hypersulfated LA-LMWH was synthesized (sLA-LMWH). sLA-LMWH is not only a 32-fold more potent inhibitor of intrinsic tenase than LA-LMWH; it also acquires prothrombinase inhibitory activity. A direct correlation between the extent of sulfation of LA-LMWH and its inhibitory activity against intrinsic tenase and prothrombinase is observed. In plasma-based assays of tenase and prothrombinase, sLA-LMWH produces similar prolongation of clotting times in plasma depleted of antithrombin and/or heparin cofactor II as it does in control plasma. In contrast, heparin has no effect in antithrombin-depleted plasma. When the effect of sLA-LMWH on various components of tenase and prothrombinase was examined, its inhibitory activity was found to be cofactor-dependent (factors Va and VIIIa) and phospholipid-independent. These studies reveal that sLA-LMWH acts as a potent antithrombin-independent inhibitor of coagulation by attenuating intrinsic tenase and prothrombinase.

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