Potential therapeutic applications:
Anticoagulant and antithrombotic activity: A well-studied interaction of dermatan is the binding of dermatan sulfate to heparin cofactor II, which acts by inhibiting the procoagulant activity of thrombin. It has been reported that this inhibitory effect increases a thousand-fold in the presence of dermatan sulfate.
Dermatan sulfate in wound repair: As is well known, dermatan sulfate is an important component of the skin and, bearing in mind its location and activities related to coagulation, cell growth and its ability to interact with several proteins, the role of dermatan sulfate in wound repair is currently a very active area of research.
Dermatan sulfate in infectious processes: Dermatan sulfate (and related proteoglycans) have been associated with the ability to increase resistance to infectious diseases.
Dermatan sulfate in the central nervous system: The central nervous system is a rich and complex source of proteoglycans consisting, amongst others, of dermatan sulfate and chains of chondroitin sulfate. Particularly high levels of chondroitin sulfate and dermatan sulfate proteoglycans have been seen during brain development. Their presence is related to regulation of expression of growth patterns, which suggests important functions in all developmental stages.
Dermatan sulfate as a potential anticancer drug: A clear correlation has been shown between the accumulation of chondroitin sulfate and dermatan sulfate proteoglycans and cancer progression. Dermatan sulfate interacts with many growth factors and cytokines involved in cancer formation and progression. As a consequence, structural changes in dermatan sulfate chains and their properties may influence cancer cell biology, growth, and migration. The specific sequences that bind to several key proteins have yet to be identified, but their research and characterization may lead to molecular targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment.