Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Chemistry International Blank Image Chemistry International Blank Image Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Current Issue
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Past Issues
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Officer's Columns
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Features
Chemistry International Blank Image
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Up for Discussion
Chemistry International Text Image Link to IUPAC Wire
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Project Place
Chemistry International Text Image Link to imPACt
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Bookworm
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Internet Connections
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Conference Call
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Where 2B and Y
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Symposia
Chemistry International Text Image Link to CI Indexes
Chemistry International Text Image Link to CI Editor
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Search Function
Chemistry International Text Image Link to Information
 
 

 

Chemistry International Text Image Link to Previous Issue Chemistry International Text Image Link to Previous Page Chemistry International Text Image Link to This TOC Chemistry International Text Image Link to Next Page Chemistry International Text Image Link to Next Issue

Vol. 35 No. 1
January-February 2013


Stamps International |

See also www.iupac.org/publications/ci/indexes/stamps.html


Heparin: the Mighty Carbohydrate

Heparin, a complex carbohydrate extracted from pig intestines or cow lungs, is one of the most important anticoagulant drugs in clinical use today. Major medical advances after the Second World War, including heart transplants, kidney dialysis, and coronary arterial dilations (angioplasties), have been facilitated by heparin’s ability to prevent the formation of blood clots. Heparin was discovered in 1916 by Jay McLean, a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins University working under the supervision of the physiologist William Howell, who named the compound two years later. Modern commercial preparations of heparin are heterogeneous mixtures of sulfated polysaccharide chains with an average molecular weight of ~15 kDa. Despite its widespread use, uncertainties regarding the exact structure and biological activity of heparin, its limited supplies from animal sources, and the fact that contaminated samples occasionally reach the marketplace, have prompted in recent years the development of several methods for the preparation of synthetic heparin.

The stamp illustrated in this note was issued in 1994 by the Åland Islands, a Swedish-speaking autonomous region of Finland comprised of more than 6500 islands clustered at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. It pays tribute to Erik Jorpes (1894–1973), who was born in the small island of Kökar in the Åland archipelago and became a lifelong researcher on blood coagulation and a major contributor to the structural elucidation of heparin during the 1930s at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Jorpes was also a great admirer of Jöns Jacob Berzelius, the legendary Swedish chemist (1779–1848) who pioneered the use of chemical symbols for the elements, discovered cerium, selenium, silicon, and thorium, and coined the terms “catalysis,” “polymer,” “isomer,” and “allotrope.” An interesting side note: Jorpes is the author of the only biography of Berzelius available in English, published in 1966, and he played a key role during the early 1970s in the reorganization of the Berzelius Museum operated by the Swedish Academy of Sciences.

For a brief discussion on synthetic heparin, see Linhardt, R.J.; Liu, J. Curr. Op. Pharmacol. 2012, 12, 217–219.

Written by Daniel Rabinovich <drabinov@uncc.edu>.


Page last modified 3 January 2013.
Copyright © 2003-2013 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.
Questions regarding the website, please contact edit.ci@iupac.org
Link to CI Home Page Link to IUPAC E-News Link to IUPAC Home Page