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Potential Therapeutic Application of Chondroitin Sulfate/Dermatan Sulfate

[ Vol. 5 , Issue. 4 ]


Shuhei Yamada and Kazuyuki Sugahara   Pages 289 - 301 ( 13 )


Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex polysaccharides, which play important roles in cell growth, differentiation, morphogenesis, cell migration, and bacterial/viral infections. Major GAGs include heparin (Hep)/heparan sulfate, and chondroitin sulfate (CS)/dermatan sulfate (DS). Hep has been used for the treatment of thromboembolic disorders for more than 75 years, and has an established position in therapy today. CS/DS has attracted less attention and its clinical use is limited. However, CS/DS also have intriguing biological activities, which in turn should help in the development of CS/DS-based therapeutics. In this review, the following potential applications of CS/DS chains are discussed. (1) Sugar drugs for parasitic and viral infections. Particular CS variants appear to be involved in infections of various microbes, suggesting that CS/DS oligosaccharide sequences specifically interacting with microbes will lead to the development of inhibitory drugs for these infections. (2) Regenerative medicine. Biological activities of CS/DS chains possibly involve various growth factors, also known as Hep-binding growth factors. Specific CS/DS chains recruit growth/neurotrophic factors and/or potentiate their activities, suggesting that minute amounts of functional CS/DS chains can be utilized for tissue regeneration instead of signaling proteins. (3) Anti-tumor drugs. Specific saccharide structures in CS/DS chains appear to be involved in tumor cell proliferation and metastasis. The detection and identification of such CS/DS saccharide sequences would be an important contribution to cancer therapy.


Glycosaminoglycan, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, virus, infection, tissue regeneration, neurite outgrowth, osteoarthritis, cancer


Laboratory of Proteoglycan Signaling and Therapeutics, Frontier Research Center for Post-Genomic Science and Technology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Life Science, Nishi 11-choume, Kita 21-jo, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 001-0021, Japan.

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