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November 1, 1965

Heparin Osteoporosis

JAMA. 1965;194(5):570-571. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090180094035

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To the Editor:—  Since 1957 there have been a number of well-documented reports of osteoporosis and spontaneous fractures in experimental animals treated not only with sodium heparin, but with a variety of anionic polyelectrolytes ("heparinoids"), eg, dextran sulfate, polyethylene sulfonate, laminarin, sulfated hyaluronate. The effect upon osseous matrix is not unique to heparin, but can be induced by a number of polyanions.While the noted preliminary experimental observations which suggest heparin enhancement of bone resorption are intriguing, equally compelling is the proposition that there is an induced defect of bone formation. For example, histopathologic studies of bones from dextran-sulfate-treated animals reflect the close similarity of the lesions to other osteoporotic syndromes presumed to be the result of a defect in bone matrix synthesis, eg, copper deficiency, manganese deficiency, ascorbic acid deficiency. Additionally, sulfated polysaccharides are sharply localized over bone matrix at sites of bone formation as judged by autoradiography which

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