Degradable starch microspheres (DSMs) are starch chains cross-linked with epichlorhydrin, forming glycerol-ether links. DSMs have been used for many years for temporary vascular occlusion and drug delivery in treatment of malignancies. They are also approved and used for topical haemostasis by absorbing excess fluid from the blood and concentrating endogenous coagulation factors, thereby facilitating haemostasis. This mechanism of action is not sufficient for larger bleedings in current chemical formulations of DSMs, and modification of DSMs to trigger activation of platelets or coagulation would be required for use in such applications. Chemical modifications of DSMs with N-octenyl succinic anhydride, chloroacetic acid, acetic anhydride, diethylaminoethyl chloride and ellagic acid were performed and evaluated in vitro with thrombin generation and platelet adhesion tests, and in vivo using an experimental renal bleeding model in rat. DSMs modified to activate platelets in vitro were superior in haemostatic capacity in vivo. Further studies with non-toxic substances are warranted to confirm these results and develop the DSM as a more effective topical haemostatic agent.
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