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One Hundred Years of Heparin
Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases

Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases
Open Access

ISSN: 2329-8790

+44 20 3868 9735

Opinion Article - (2015) Volume 3, Issue 6

One Hundred Years of Heparin

Gargantilla P1,2*, Arroyo N1 and Pintor E2
1Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital de El Escorial, Madrid, Spain
2European University of Madrid, Spain
*Corresponding Author: Gargantilla P, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital de El Escorial, Madrid, Ctra. Guadarrama-Escorial Km 6,255, 28200 El Escorial, Madrid, Spain, Tel: 655525622 Email:

Abstract

This year is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of heparin, the main anticoagulant drugs for more than 70 years [1], and we would like to remind its discovery. Heparin is a highly-sulfated glycosaminoglycan. It was first discovered by J McLean and WH Howell. McLean was a second-year medical student, at Johns Hopkins University, who was assisting Howell in the investigation of procoagulant preparations. Howell sugggestd to him that he study the nature of the thromboplastic substance to identify the active principle of this extract. In 1916 the young student isolated a fat-soluble anticoagulant in canine liver tissue [2]. It was discovered serendipitously in the course of a problem.

Opinion

This year is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of heparin, the main anticoagulant drugs for more than 70 years [1], and we would like to remind its discovery. Heparin is a highly-sulfated glycosaminoglycan. It was first discovered by J McLean and WH Howell. McLean was a second-year medical student, at Johns Hopkins University, who was assisting Howell in the investigation of procoagulant preparations. Howell sugggestd to him that he study the nature of the thromboplastic substance to identify the active principle of this extract. In 1916 the young student isolated a fat-soluble anticoagulant in canine liver tissue [2]. It was discovered serendipitously in the course of a problem.

However, McLean had to leave college in 1917 because of lack of money. A year later Howell and his alumni LE Holt developed another fat soluble anticoagulant apparently distinct and they called “heparin” - from Ancient Greek “hepar” (liver) [3]. Many years later he presented further refinements to that protocol (1926) and the final result was a compound different from anticoagulant isolated by McLean (1916) and by Howell (1918). In the 1920 Best started the clinical development of unfractionated heparin, extracting it from beef liver and showing that it was a source of best dog liver heparin. It has taken 20 years from the discovery of heparin to its therapeutic use (1935), the first human trials of heparin were conducted.

References

  1. Wardrop D, Keeling D (2008) The story of the discovery of heparin and warfarin. Br J Haematol 141: 757-763.
  2. Marcum JA (2000) The origin of the dispute over the discovery of heparin. J Hist Med Allied Sci 55: 37-66.
Citation: Gargantilla P, Arroyo N, Pintor E (2015) One Hundred Years of Heparin. J Hematol Thrombo Dis 3:230.

Copyright: © 2015 Gargantilla P, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.