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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;60(4):499-503. doi: 10.1211/jpp.60.4.0013.

Induction of hepatocyte growth factor by fucoidan and fucoidan-derived oligosaccharides.

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Division of Molecular Regenerative Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-2-B7 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Fucoidan, which is extracted from brown seaweed, is a complex sulphated polysaccharide that is mostly composed of L-fucose and sulphated ester groups. The structural and anionic characteristics of fucoidan are similar to those of heparin. Heparin stimulates production of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which has key roles in tissue regeneration. We have shown that fucoidan and fucoidan-derived oligosaccharides have similar ability to stimulate production of HGF as heparin and heparin-derived oligosaccharides. This induction of HGF by heparin or fucoidan and their oligosaccharide derivates occurs primarily at the level of translation, probably via the same mechanism. Fucoidan may thus be useful to protect tissues and organs from various injuries and diseases, via mechanisms involving HGF.

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