Dextran is a complex branched polysaccharide (carbohydrate) that is composed of glucose molecules linked together. It is water-soluble and is often used to create dextran solutions. These solutions have various applications in the fields of medicine, biology, and chemistry. Here are a few common uses of dextran solutions:
Blood Plasma Volume Expander: Dextran solutions, such as Dextran 40 and Dextran 70, are used in the medical field as plasma volume expanders. They are administered intravenously to increase blood volume in patients who have lost blood due to surgery, trauma, or other medical conditions. Dextran molecules help improve circulation and maintain blood pressure.
Chromatography: Dextran can be used in gel filtration chromatography. In this context, dextran solutions are used as a matrix in chromatography columns to separate and purify molecules based on their size or molecular weight. The porous structure of dextran gels allows smaller molecules to enter the pores while larger ones move more quickly through the column.
Drug Delivery: Dextran can serve as a carrier for drug delivery systems. By modifying dextran molecules, drugs or therapeutic agents can be attached or encapsulated within them. This allows for controlled and targeted drug release in the body.
Tissue Engineering: Dextran can be used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine as a component of scaffolds for cell growth and tissue regeneration. Its biocompatibility and ability to form hydrogels make it useful in creating artificial environments for cells to grow and differentiate.
Virology Research: Dextran solutions are sometimes used in virology research for virus particle separation and purification. Dextran gradients can be employed in the process of purifying virus particles from cell culture media.