The dextran - A polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate) consisting of branched chains of glucose units. Dextrans that are formed by the action of bacteria on sucrose in the mouth produce plaque (a rough, sticky coating on the teeth), which is a major cause of tooth decay (see caries, dental).

Commercially manufactured preparations of synthetic dextran solution may be used in surgery or in emergency treatment for shock, to increase the volume of the plasma (the fluid part of the blood) in the circulation. Dextrans used for this purpose are known as plasma expanders.


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