Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are polysaccharides found in living systems that have key biological roles and function as polyelectrolytes owing to their large number of sulfate groups. There have been many reports describing the syntheses of GAGs and the development of GAG mimetics and analogs. The preparation of such GAG mimics has utilized versatile methods ranging from total syntheses to synthetic polymer chemistry approaches. The core of GAG mimetic production is the fusion of complex chemical structures with polymeric properties. Multivalent interactions of the saccharides with specific biological targets, such as proteins, are an essential function of GAGs and other multivalent saccharides. In this review, methods for generating GAGs from glycopolymers are presented and research reports describing the functional characterization of the synthesized GAGs are outlined.
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