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Anal Chem. 2014 Jan 7;86(1):326-30. doi: 10.1021/ac403625a. Epub 2013 Dec 23.

Method to detect contaminants in heparin using radical depolymerization and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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College of Food Science and Technology, Ocean University of China , Qingdao, Shandong 266003, China.


Heparin is a critically important anticoagulant drug that was contaminated with a persulfonated polysaccharide in 2008, resulting in a number of severe adverse reactions, some leading to death. Controversy remains as to the precise composition of the 2008 contaminant, and new information suggests that heparin may now be subject to adulteration with a new, difficult to detect, contaminant, N-sulfo oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. This study synthesizes this new potential contaminant and describes the use of radical depolymerization followed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to detect N-sulfo oversulfated chondroitin sulfate and to confirm the structure of the 2008 contaminant as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate and not oversulfated heparan sulfate.

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