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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1999 Jan;57(1):49-52.

The effect of chitosan (poly-N-acetyl glucosamine) on lingual hemostasis in heparinized rabbits.

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Section of Periodontics, UCLA School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668, USA.



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of chitosan on lingual hemostasis in rabbits whose coagulation pathway had been impaired by administration of intravenous heparin.


Bleeding times were measured for bilateral (15 mm x 2 mm) tongue incisions in 10 New Zealand white rabbits. Using a randomized, blinded experimental design, one incision in each animal was treated with chitosan, and the other was treated with the control vehicle without chitosan. Activated coagulation times and extraoral bleeding times were measured for each animal before, during, and after heparinization.


Intravenous infusion of heparin more than tripled the mean activated coagulation time and increased mean systemic bleeding time by 40%. In this heparinized animal model, lingual incisions receiving the experimental substance showed a 43% improvement in bleeding time as compared with lingual incisions receiving the control solution (P< or =.001). Chitosan treatment brought bleeding time of the lingual incision for heparinized animals within the normal range. Scanning electron microscopic evaluation of the incisions treated with chitosan showed an altered red blood cell morphology and an unusual affinity between erythrocytes.


Topical application of chitosan to lingual incisions effectively decreased intraoral bleeding time in a therapeutically anticoagulated (heparinized) rabbit model. Chitosan facilitated lingual hemostasis, possibly through interaction with erythrocytes, linking them together to establish a cellular clot or hemostatic plug.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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