Aug 11, 2016
Dextran is a complex branched glucan (polysaccharide made of many glucose molecules) composed of chains of varying lengths (from 5 to 2000 kilodaltons). It is used medicinally as an antithrombotic (antiplatelet), to reduce blood viscosity, and as a volume expander in hypovolaemia.
Range of Dextran products (click)
The straight chain consists of α-1,6 glycosidic linkages between glucose molecules, while branches begin from α-1,3 linkages. Dextran is synthesized from sucrose by certain lactic acid bacteria, the best-known being Leuconostoc mesenteroides and Streptococcus mutans. Dental plaque is rich in dextrans.
Typical Laboratory uses
- Dextran is used in the osmotic stress technique for applying osmotic pressure to biological molecules.
- It is also used in some size-exclusion chromatography matrices.
- Dextran has also been used in bead form to aid in bioreactor applications.
- Dextran has been used in immobilization in biosensors.
- Dextran preferentially binds to early endosomes, fluorescent-labelled dextran can be used to visualize these endosomes under a fluorescent microscope.
- Dextran can be used as a stabilizing coating to protect metal nanoparticles from oxidation and improve biocompatibility.
- Dextran coupled with a fluorescent molecule such as fluorescein isothiocyanate can be used to create concentration gradients of diffusible molecules for imaging and allow subsequent characterization of gradient slope.
- Dextran is used to make microcarriers for industrial cell culture.