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Detection of a stable nitroxide during chemical depolymerization of heparin

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The use of low-molecular-weight heparins (LMWHs) has become common, since compared to unfractionated heparin (UFH), they have a much longer plasma half-life and lower incidence of side effects. LMWHs are derived from the depolymerization of UFH, obtained either chemically, physically or enzymatically. We employed electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy to study the depolymerization of UFH by copper in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. A stable nitroxide radical was detected. This could be generated by the hydroxyl radical attack either to the N-SO3 group or to free amino groups present in the UFH preparation.


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