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Development and use of sulodexide in vascular diseases: implications for treatment

Authors Coccheri S, Mannello F

Received 11 June 2013

Accepted for publication 13 August 2013

Published 24 December 2013 Volume 2014:8 Pages 49—65


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Sergio Coccheri,1 Ferdinando Mannello2

1Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Bologna, Bologna, 2Department of Biomolecular Sciences (Section Clinical Biochemistry and Cell Biology), University 'Carlo Bo', Urbino, Italy

Abstract: Sulodexide (SDX), a sulfated polysaccharide complex extracted from porcine intestinal mucosa, is a blend of two glycosaminoglycan (GAG) entities, namely a fast-moving heparin (HP) fraction and a dermatan sulfate (DS; 20%) component. The compound is unique among HP-like substances in that it is biologically active by both the parenteral and oral routes. A main feature of the agent is to undergo extensive absorption by the vascular endothelium. For this reason, in preclinical studies, SDX administered parenterally displays an antithrombotic action similar to that of HPs but associated with fewer alterations of the blood clotting mechanisms and tests, thus being much less conducive to bleeding risk than HPs. When given orally, SDX is associated with minimal changes in classic coagulation tests, but maintains a number of important effects on the structure and function of endothelial cells (EC), and the intercellular matrix. These activities include prevention or restoration of the integrity and permeability of EC, counteraction versus chemical, toxic or metabolic EC injury, regulation of EC–blood cell interactions, inhibition of microvascular inflammatory and proliferative changes, and other similar effects, thus allowing oral SDX to be considered as an endothelial-protecting agent. The best available clinical evidence of the efficacy of SDX administered orally with or without an initial parenteral phase is the following: alleviation of symptoms in chronic venous disease and especially acceleration of healing of venous leg ulcers; prevention of cardiovascular events in survivors after acute myocardial infarction; marked improvement of intermittent claudication in patients with peripheral occlusive arterial disease; and abatement of proteinuria in patients with diabetic nephropathy that may contribute to the amelioration or stabilization of kidney function. Although further clinical trials are warranted, SDX is presently widely accepted in many countries as an effective and safe long-term, endothelial-protecting drug.

Keywords: sulodexide, glycosaminoglycans, chronic venous disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetic nephropathy

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