What is Hirudin?

Hirudin is a naturally occurring peptide in the salivary glands of medicinal leeches (such as Hirudo medicinalis) that has a blood anticoagulant property. It including 65 amino acid residues and three disulfide bond and it has great antithrombin activity. This is fundamental for the leeches’ alimentary habit of hematophagy, since it keeps the blood flowing after the initial phlebotomy performed by the worm on the host’s skin. ebiochem.com

Contrary to K2-EDTA, heparin and other anticoagulants, hirudin only minimally alters blood cells and dissolved blood constituents, thus qualifying as a universal anticoagulant for diagnostic purposes. Automated complete blood counts, automated analyses of clinical chemistry analytes and immunohaematology were performed from hirudinised and routinely processed blood obtained from healthy volunteers (n=35) and hospitalised patients (n=45). Hirudin (400 ATU/ml blood) sufficiently anticoagulated blood for diagnostic purposes. The measurements of automated complete blood counts obtained from K2-EDTA-anticoagulated and hirudinised blood correlated significantly as did the measurements of 24 clinical chemistry analytes from hirudinised plasma and serum. Regression analysis revealed that the results of complete blood counts and clinical chemistry tests were predictable from the respective measurements from hirudinised blood (p=0.001). Immunohaematological tests and cross-matching from hirudinised and native blood of the same donors gave identical results. Single clotting factors, but not global coagulation analytes, could be measured from hirudinised blood. Therefore, a universal hirudin-containing blood sampling tube could be designed for automated analysis of haematological, serological and clinical chemistry analytes. ebiochem.com

So far, Hirudin is the most potent natural inhibitor of thrombin. Unlike antithrombin III, hirudin binds to and inhibits only the activity of thrombin, with a specific activity on fibrinogen. Therefore, hirudin can be used in treatments of all kinds of thrombosis diseases.It prevents or dissolves the formation of clots and thrombi (i.e., it has a thrombolytic activity), and has therapeutic value in blood coagulation disorders, in the treatment of skin hematomas and of superficial varicose veins, either as an injectable or a topical application cream. ebiochem.com


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