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1.  Low molecular weight protamine as nontoxic heparin/low molecular weight heparin antidote (III): Preliminary in vivo evaluation of efficacy and toxicity using a canine model 
AAPS PharmSci  2001;3(3):24-31.
Heparin employed in cardiovascular surgeries often leads to a high incidence of bleeding complications. Protamine employed in heparin reversal, however, can cause severe adverse reactions. In an attempt to address this clinical problem, we developed low molecular weight protamine (LMWP) as a potentially effective and less toxic heparin antagonist. A homogeneous 1880-d peptide fragment, termed LMWP-TDSP5 and containing the amino acid sequence of VSRRRRRRGGRRRR was derived directly from protamine by enzymatic digestion of protamine with thermolysin. In vitro studies demonstrated that TDSP5 was capable of neutralizing various anticoagulant functions of both heparin and commercial low molecular weight heparin preparations. In addition, TDSP5 exhibited significantly reduced crossreactivity toward mouse sera containing antiprotamine antibodies. TDSP5 showed a decrease in its potential in activating the complement system. All of these findings suggested the possibility of markedly reduced protamine toxicity for TDSP5.
In this article, we conducted preliminary in vivo studies to further demonstrate the feasibility and utility of using LMWP as a nontoxic clinical protamine substitute. Dogs were chosen as test animals because they were known to magnify the typical human response to protamine. By using a full spectra of biological and clinical assays for heparin, including the anti-IIa and anti-Xa chromogenic assays and the activated partial, thromboplastin time and TCT clotting assays, TDSP5 showed that it could completely neutralize all these different anticoagulant functions of heparin in dogs. Although administration of protamine in dogs produced a significant reduction in mean arterial blood pressure (−14.9 mm Hg) and elevation in pulmonary artery systolic pressure (+5.0 mm Hg), the use of TDSP5 in dogs did not elicit any statistically significant change in any of the variables measured. Furthermore, the use of LMWP also significantly reduced the protamine-induced transient thrombocytopenic and granulocytopenic responses. The white blood cell counts and platelet counts decreased to 82.1% and 60.0% of baseline, respectively, in dogs given intravenous protamine compared to 97.8% and 88.6% of baseline in dogs receiving TDSP5. These preliminary findings indicated that LMWP could potentially provide an effective and safe means to control both heparin- and protamine-induced complications.
PMCID: PMC2751014  PMID: 11741270
Heparin Neutralization; Protamine Toxicity; aPTT/TCT Heparin Clotting Assays; Anti-IIa Anti-Xa Chromogenic Assays; Hemodynamic/Hematologic Responses
2.  Low molecular weight protamine (LMWP) as nontoxic heparin/low molecular weight heparin antidote (I): Preparation and characterization 
AAPS PharmSci  2001;3(3):7-14.
Low molecular weight protamine (LMWP) appears to be a promising solution for heparin neutralization without the protamine-associated catastrophic toxic effects. The feasibility of this hypothesis was proven previously by using a peptide mixture produced from proteolytic digestion of protamine. To further examine the utility of this compound as an ultimate nontoxic protamine substitute, detailed studies on the purification and characterization of LMWP including the precise amino acid sequence, structure-function relationship, and possible mechanism were conducted. A number of LWMP fragments, composed of highly cationic peptides with molecular weights ranging from 700 to 1900 d, were prepared by digestion of native protamine with the protease thermolysin. These fragments were fractionated using a heparin affinity chromatography, and their relative binding strengths toward heparin were elucidated. Five distinct fractions were eluted at NaCl concentration ranging from 0.4 to 1.0 M and were denoted as TDSP1 to TDSP5, in increasing order of eluting ionic strength. Among these 5 fractions, TDSP4 and TDSP5 contained 3 LMWP peptide fragments, and they were found to retain the complete heparin-neutralizing function of protamine. By using a peptide mass spectrometry (MS) fingerprint mapping technique, the amino acid sequences of the microheterogeneous LMWP fragments in all these 5 elution fractions were readily identified. A typical structural scaffold made by arginine clusters in the middle and nonarginine residues at the N-terminal of the peptide sequence was observed for all these LMWP fragments. By aligning the sequences with the potency in heparin neutralization of these LMWP fragments, it was found that retention of potency similar to that of protamine required the presence of at least 2 arginine clusters in the LMWP fragments; such as the sequence of VSRRRRRRGGRRRR seen in the most potent LMWP fraction-TDSP5. The above finding was further validated by using a synthetic LMWP analogue-CRRRRRRR-and it was found that its heparin-neutralizing ability was increased by changing from a monomeric to a dimeric structure of this analogue peptide. Based on these results, the structural requirement for a compound to function as an effective heparin antidote and the possible mechanism involved in heparin neutralization were established.
PMCID: PMC2751012  PMID: 11741268
Heparin LMWH neutralization; Protamine toxicity; LMWP peptide sequences; MS fingerprint mapping; Mechanism of heparin neutralization
3.  Synthesis and characterization of positively charged tPA as a prodrug using a heparin/protamine-based drug-delivery system 
AAPS PharmSci  2000;2(1):59-67.
Positively charged peptides [(Arg)-Cys] were sucessfully linked to tissue-specific plasminogen activator (tPA) using cross-linking agent N-succinimidyl 3-(2-pyridyldithio) propionate. Specific amidolytic activity of this tPA/(Arg)-Cys (termed modified tPA, mtPA) was 3900 IU/μg as compared to 5800 IU/μg of the parent tPA. Both activation of plasminogen with mtPA (Km=2.7 mM−1) and tPA (Km=1.1 mM−1) in a purified system followed Michaelis-Menten kinetics. In addition, (Arg)-Cys modification did not result in significant changes in the fibrin-binding ability of tPA, and mtPA still retained a response to fibrinogen similar to that of the parent tPA. Compared with tPA, mtPA showed much stronger heparin affinity, and the heparin/mtPA complex was stable in human plasma. The activity of mtPA in such a complex was inhibited by heparin, and, unlike tPA, the heparin/mtPA complex did not cause statistically meaningful depletion of plasminogen, fibrinogen, and α2-antiplasmin in plasma. Using the chromogenic and the in vitro clot lysis assay, it was demonstrated that the heparin-induced inhibition of the mtPA activity was easily reversed following the addition of an adequate amount of protamine. To enhance the clot-targeting efficiency of the heparin/mtPA complex further, anti-fibrin immunoglobulin (IgG) was conjugated to heparin via an end-point attachment of heparin to the sugar moieties in the Fc region of the IgG. Results show that the activity of mtPA could also be blocked by the heparin/anti-fibrin IgG conjugate. These findings suggest the applicability of the heparin/protamine delivery system to abort the potential bleeding risks associated with clinical use of tPA.
PMCID: PMC2751002  PMID: 11741223

Results 1-3 (3)