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The polyanion oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS) was identified as a contaminant in heparin products and was associated with severe hypotensive responses and other symptoms in patients receiving the drug. The OSCS associated adverse reactions were attributed to activation of the contact system via the plasma mediator, activated factor XII (FXIIa), which triggers kallikrein (KK) activity. Unlike heparin alone, OSCS, is able to activate FXII in plasma and stably bind to FXIIa enhancing plasma KK activity and the induction of vasoactive mediators such as bradykinin (BK), C3a and C5a. Similarly OSCS can interfere with heparin neutralization by the polycationic drug protamine. Here, we assess heparin (heparin sodium, dalteparin, tinzaparin or enoxaparin)-protamine complex formation and plasma based bioassays of KK, BK and C5a in a 96-well plate format. We establish the normal range of variation in the optimized bioassays across multiple lots from 9 manufacturers. In addition, because other oversulfated (OS) glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) besides OSCS could also serve as possible economically motivated adulterants (EMAs) to heparin, we characterize OS-dermatan sulfate (OSDS), OS-heparan sulfate (OSHS) and their native forms in the same assays. For the protamine test, OS-GAGs could be distinguished from heparin. For the KK assay, OSCS and OSDS were most potent followed by OSHS, and all had similar efficacies. Finally, OSDS had a greater efficacy in the C5a and BK assays followed by OSCS then OSHS. These data established the normal range of response of heparin products in these assays and the alteration in the responses in the presence of possible EMAs. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Cynthia D Sommers, Nicolas Montpas, Albert Adam, David A Keire. Characterization of currently marketed heparin products: adverse event relevant bioassays. Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis. 2012 Aug-Sep;67-68:28-35

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PMID: 22591805

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