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  1. Abstract

    Proteoglycans are core proteins associated with carbohydrate/sugar moieties that are highly variable in disaccharide composition, which dictates their function. These carbohydrates are named glycosaminoglycans, and they can be attached to proteoglycans or found free in tissues or on cell surfaces. Glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronan, chondroitin sulfate, dermatan sulfate, keratan sulfate, and heparin/heparan sulfate have multiple functions including involvement in inflammation, immunity and connective tissue structure, and integrity. Heparan sulfate is a highly sulfated polysaccharide that is abundant in the periodontium including alveolar bone. Recent evidence supports the contention that heparan sulfate is an important player in modulating interactions between damage associated molecular patterns and inflammatory receptors expressed by various cell types. The structure of heparan sulfate is reported to dictate its function, thus, the utilization of a homogenous and structurally defined heparan sulfate polysaccharide for modulation of cell function offers therapeutic potential. Recently, a chemoenzymatic approach was developed to allow production of many structurally defined heparan sulfate carbohydrates. These oligosaccharides have been studied in various pathological inflammatory conditions to better understand their function and their potential application in promoting tissue homeostasis. We have observed that specific size and sulfation patterns can modulate inflammation and promote tissue maintenance including an anabolic effect in alveolar bone. Thus, new evidence provides a strong impetus to explore heparan sulfate as a potential novel therapeutic agent to treat periodontitis, support alveolar bone maintenance, and promote bone formation.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 24, 2024