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Based on basic knowledge carbohydrates are classified into simple sugars and polysaccharides. Simple sugars are further subdivided into mono- and oligosaccharides, while the lateral "polysaccharides" are classified into homo- and hetropolysaccharides.
Homopolysaccharides or what is known also by homoglycans are sugars that yield single monosaccharides on hydrolysis and they are also subdivided into two groups which are pentosans and hexosans. In this paper our main concern that we will focus on is the first group "pentosans".
It is a chain of pentose sugar with the general formula (C5H8O4)n.
In general, pentosans are found in grains, fruits and legumes they are considered to be one of the main constituents of plants' cell wall matrix..
Basically, pentosans include both xylan and araban. Xylans are considered to be polymers of D-xylose which are found in shells of apricot seeds and straw wood, while arabans are L-arabinose polymers that are found in cherry and plum-guns.
On hydrolysis pentosans yield pentoses such as arbinose or xylose.
Moreover, pentosans have a one characteristic feature which is their ability of increasing water binding capacity of flour by slowing the rate of time of the bread firming that is why they are highly used in baking.
In the pharmaceutical field, they can act as heparinoids (glycosamionglycans derived from heparin that contain both oligosaccharides and sulfated polysaccharides from plants, animals or synthetic sources). Example from plant origin is pentosan from Fagus sylvatica bark, which has 1/10 the efficacy of heparin when it gets sulfonated.
It is a semi synthetic polysulfated xylan with heparin like effect, where it acts as mild anticoagulant with fibrinolytic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is manufactured from beech-wood hemicellulose by sulfate esterification of the xylopyranose hydroxyl groups. In another words it is a polymer of xylose hydrogen sulfate that contains two groups of sulfate per carbohydrate monomer. It binds Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) as well as other heparin-binding growth factors. It acts on FGFs-1 & -2 as an antagonist but as an inhibitor on GGF-4. It is well known to be used for relieving the pain combined with intestinal cystitis in humans where it forms a layer on the bladder wall and protects it from harmful and irritating substances in the urine. It is also used to treat Osteoarthritis in both horses and dogs.
Like any other drug poentosan polysulfate "PPS" has some side effects including hair loss headache, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach upset.
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