What are the different types of dextran?

Dextran is a complex branched polysaccharide made of many glucose molecules. It is produced by certain bacteria and has various applications in medicine, biotechnology, and industry. Different types of dextran can be categorized based on their molecular weight, structure, and specific applications. Here are the main types of dextran:

1. Native Dextran:

This is the naturally occurring form of dextran, produced by bacterial fermentation. Its molecular weight can range from a few thousand to several million Daltons.

2. Low Molecular Weight Dextran:

These dextrans have molecular weights ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 Daltons. They are often used as osmotic agents in medical applications, such as in intravenous solutions to increase blood volume.

3. Intermediate Molecular Weight Dextran:

These have molecular weights ranging from 10,000 to 70,000 Daltons. They are used in medical applications such as volume expanders in hypovolemia treatment and as stabilizers in vaccines.

4. High Molecular Weight Dextran:

These dextrans have molecular weights above 70,000 Daltons. They are used in chromatography and as a stabilizing agent in various pharmaceutical formulations.

5. Dextran Sulfate:

This is a chemically modified form of dextran where sulfate groups are added to the molecule. Dextran sulfate has anticoagulant properties and is used in research, particularly in virology and immunology.

6. Cross-Linked Dextran (Sephadex):

This type of dextran is cross-linked to form a three-dimensional network, making it insoluble in water. It is commonly used as a gel filtration medium in chromatography for separating molecules based on size.

7. Carboxymethyl Dextran:

This is another chemically modified dextran where carboxymethyl groups are added. It has various uses, including as a stabilizer in pharmaceutical formulations and as a component in drug delivery systems.

8. Iron Dextran:

This is a complex of dextran with iron, used in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia. The dextran helps to solubilize and stabilize the iron for intravenous administration.

9. Activated Dextran:

These are dextrans that have been chemically activated to allow for the attachment of other molecules, such as proteins or drugs. They are used in the development of drug delivery systems and diagnostic reagents.

Each type of dextran has unique properties and specific applications based on its molecular weight, chemical modifications, and functional groups.