heparin (hĕpˈərĭn) [key], anticoagulant produced by cells in many animals. A polysaccharide, heparin is found in the human body and occurs in greatest concentration in the tissues surrounding the capillaries of the lungs and the liver. The substance, extracted from animal tissues, is used clinically to delay blood clotting.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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