University Of Tasmania
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Non-anticoagulant fractions of enoxaparin suppress inflammatory cytokine release from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of allergic asthmatic individuals

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Background: Enoxaparin, a low-molecular-weight heparin, is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties. However, its clinical exploitation as an anti-inflammatory agent is hampered by its anticoagulant effect and the associated risk of bleeding.

Objective: The aim of the current study was to examine the ability of non-anticoagulant fractions of enoxaparin to inhibit the release of key inflammatory cytokines in primed peripheral blood mononuclear cells derived from allergic mild asthmatics.

Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from allergic asthmatics were activated with phytohaemag glutinin (PHA), concanavalin-A (ConA) or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) in the presence or absence of enoxaparin fractions before cytokine levels were quantified using specific cytokine bead arrays. Together with nuclear magnetic resonance analysis,time-dependent and target-specific effects of enoxaparin fractions were used to elucidate structural determinants for their anti-inflammatory effect and gain mechanistic insights into their anti-inflammatory activity.

Results: Two non-anticoagulant fractions of enoxaparin were identified that significantly inhibited T-cell activation. A disaccharide fraction of enoxaparin inhibited the release of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13 and TNF-α by more than 57% while a tetrasaccharide fraction was found to inhibit the release of tested cytokines by more than 68%. Our data suggest that the observed response is likely to be due to an interaction of 6-O-sulfated tetrasaccharide with cellular receptor(s).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: The two identified anti-inflammatory fractions lacked anticoagulant activity and are therefore not associated with risk of bleeding. The findings highlight the potential therapeutic use of enoxaparin-derived fractions, in particular tetrasaccharide, in patients with chronic inflammatory disorders.


University of Tasmania


Publication title

PLoS One





Article number









School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology


Public Library of Science

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

© 2015 Shastri et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified