Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Acute kidney failure with VTE proves difficult to treat

Researchers from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center conducted a prospective, observational study to assess the impact that weight and renal function have on venous thromboembolism (VTE) rates among in-patients ...

Neuroscience

Heparin stimulates food intake and body weight gain in mice

Heparin is a medication widely used to prevent blood clotting; it is named after and mimics the naturally occurring anticoagulant in the body. However, research published today in Cell Reports shows a novel role of heparin ...

Cardiology

Vigilance urged for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia

(HealthDay)—Diagnosis and management of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) are discussed in a review published in the May 31 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Heparin

Heparin (from Ancient Greek ηπαρ (hepar), liver), also known as unfractionated heparin, a highly sulfated glycosaminoglycan, is widely used as an injectable anticoagulant, and has the highest negative charge density of any known biological molecule. It can also be used to form an inner anticoagulant surface on various experimental and medical devices such as test tubes and renal dialysis machines.

Although it is used principally in medicine for anticoagulation, its true physiological role in the body remains unclear, because blood anti-coagulation is achieved mostly by heparan sulfate proteoglycans derived from endothelial cells. Heparin is usually stored within the secretory granules of mast cells and released only into the vasculature at sites of tissue injury. It has been proposed that, rather than anticoagulation, the main purpose of heparin is defense at such sites against invading bacteria and other foreign materials. In addition, it is conserved across a number of widely different species, including some invertebrates that do not have a similar blood coagulation system.

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