- Heparin (HEP) prevents thrombus formation (TF) and thrombus growth (TG), by accelerating thrombin (THR) inhibition by antithrombin III (ATIII). Recent studies suggest that dermatan sulphate which catalyzes thrombin inhibition by heparin cofactor II (HCII), can inhibit TF and TG as effectively as HEP. This study compared the antithrombotic effects of HEP and another agent, Sulodexide (SLX) which catalyzes thrombin inhibition by ATIII and HCII simultaneously. TF was induced in rabbit jugular veins, using the stasis/hypercoagulation model. TG was measured as the accretion of 125I-fibrin onto existing thrombi in rabbit jugular veins. HEP and SLX inhibited TF when given in doses of 10 and 5 anti-thrombin U/kg, respectively. SLX (16 anti-thrombin U/kg or 260 micrograms/kg) was more effective than HEP (120 anti-thrombin U/kg or 800 micrograms/kg) in preventing TG when administered either as a bolus or by continuous infusion. These data suggest that agents which accelerate THR inhibition by both ATIII and HCII simultaneously, can inhibit TF and TG with less systemic anticoagulation than comparable antithrombotic doses of HEP.