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Pronunciation: deks'tran


  1. Any of several water-soluble high molecular weight glucose polymers (ranging between MW 1,000 and 40,000,000); produced by the action of members of the family Lactobacillaceae and certain other microorganisms on sucrose; used in isotonic sodium chloride solution for the treatment of shock, and in distilled water for the relief of the edema of nephrosis; lower molecular weight dextran (MW 40,000 designated as dextran 40) improves blood flow in areas of stasis by reducing cellular aggregation.
  2. a-1,6-glucan with branch points (1,2; 1,3; 1,4) that are spaced in a manner characteristic of the individual species; used as plasma substitutes or expanders.

See Also: dextransucrase

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