The adulteration of raw heparin (Hep) with a synthetic oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS) not found in nature produced in 2007-2008 a global crisis giving rise to the development of additional, new and specific methods for its quality assurance and purity. In this study, a simple and sensitive agarose-gel electrophoresis method has been developed for the visualization of OSCS in Hep samples along with other natural glycosaminoglycans possibly present as "process-related impurities", in particular dermatan sulfate (DS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS). Agarose-gel electrophoresis under non-conventional conditions is able to separate OSCS from Hep with its two components, the slow-moving and fast-moving species, DS and CS by performing separation for 15h (overnight) and under high voltage (100mA, ∼200V). Densitometric scanning enabled us to calculate a limit of detection of ∼0.5μg OSCS with a linear behaviour from 0.1 to 5μg, comparable to CS/DS. Contaminated samples from Hep manufacturers were analyzed and quantitative data were found comparable to previous studies. Due to its capacity to process many samples in a single run and to the equipment commonly available in laboratories, this analytical method would be suitable for the identification and quantification of contamination by other polysaccharides, in particular OSCS and DS, within Hep preparations and formulations.
Agarose-gel electrophoresis for the quality assurance and purity of heparin formulations / Volpi, Nicola; Buzzega, Dania. - In: JOURNAL OF PHARMACEUTICAL AND BIOMEDICAL ANALYSIS. - ISSN 0731-7085. - STAMPA. - 67-68:(2012), pp. 144-147. [10.1016/j.jpba.2012.04.002]