Anticoagulant molecule

Anticoagulant molecule

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Credit: DR TIM EVANS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Anticoagulant molecule. Molecular model of one subunit of the anticoagulant heparin. Atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (green), hydrogen (white), oxygen (red), nitrogen (blue) and sulphur (yellow). Heparin is a polysaccharide (sugar) molecule found naturally in the human body. It comprises six of these monomers, which join to form its long polymer. Heparin is in greatest concentration in tissues surrounding the capillaries of the liver and lungs, where it inhibits the formation of blood clots. It is also made synthetically as a drug to prevent thrombosis and embolism in patients with vascular diseases and to prevent clotting in patients undergoing heart surgery and kidney dialysis.

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