Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 545–552 | Cite as

Structural and activity variability of fractions with different charge density and chain length from pharmaceutical heparins

  • Yanlei Yu
  • Makoto Hirakane
  • Daisuke Mori
  • Lei Lin
  • Fuming Zhang
  • Hong ZhangEmail author
  • Robert J. LinhardtEmail author
Original Article


Heparin is a structurally complex polysaccharide used as a clinical anticoagulant. It is comprised of a heterogeneous mixture of polysaccharide chains having a variety of sequences and lengths. The production methods and regulatory controls of pharmaceutical heparins have changed over the years. This study assesses the structural and activity uniformity of the polysaccharide chains comprising two contemporary heparin products. The heparin fractions with different sizes and charges were separated with size exclusion and ion exchange chromatography. The fractions were analyzed for their molecular weight properties, di- and tetrasaccharide compositions, and anti-factor IIa and anti-factor-Xa activities. The distribution of these properties through chains of different lengths and ones with different charge density were compared. The results demonstrate that with the increase in heparin purity, activity and molecular weight required by the current pharmacopeia, the uniformity of pharmaceutical heparin products have increased.


Heparin Chromatography Compositional analysis Anti-factor IIa activity Anti-factor-Xa activity 



This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants HL125371, GM38060, HL096972 and HL062244 and HL136271.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanlei Yu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Makoto Hirakane
    • 2
  • Daisuke Mori
    • 2
  • Lei Lin
    • 2
  • Fuming Zhang
    • 2
  • Hong Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert J. Linhardt
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Food Science and Biological EngineeringZhejiang Gongshang UniversityZhejiangChina
  2. 2.Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Biology, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary StudiesRensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

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