Fluorescein isothiocyanate–dextran

average mol wt 3,000-5,000

CAS Number:
MDL number:

Quality Level

biological source




mol wt

average mol wt 3,000-5,000

extent of labeling

0.001-0.020 mol FITC per mol glucose


H2O: 25 mg/mL


FITC conjugate

storage temp.


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General description

Dextran is a polymer of anhydroglucose. It is composed of approximately 95% alpha-D-(166) linkages. The remaining (163) linkages account for the branching of dextran. Conflicting data on the branch lengths implies that the average branch length is less than three glucose units. However, other methods indicate branches of greater than 50 glucose units exist. Native dextran has been found to have a molecular weight (MW) in the range of 9 million to 500 million. Lower MW dextrans will exhibit slightly less branching and have a more narrow range of MW distribution. Dextrans with MW greater than 10,000 behave as if they are highly branched. As the MW increases, dextran molecules attain greater symmetry. Dextrans with MW of 2,000 to 10,000, exhibit the properties of an expandable coil. At MW below 2,000, dextran is more rod-like. The MW of dextran is measured by one or more of the following methods: low angle laser light scattering, size exclusion chromatography, copper-complexation and anthrone reagent colorometric reducing-end sugar determination and viscosity.


FITC-dextran is used extensively in microcirculation and cell permeability research utilizing microfluorimetry. FITC-dextran has been used to study plant cell wall porosity and capillary permeability. Plasma proteins have been shown not to bind to FITC-dextran.
FITC-dextran is used in cardiovascular, microcirculation, perfusion, cell monolayer and cell membrane permeability research as fluorescent flux tracer compound that supports the measurement of processes such as blood flow, membrane damage, vascular drainage and renal elimination. Small FITC-dextrans are also used to measure processes such as endocytosis and cell junction permeability. 5kDa FITC-dextran may be used to calibrate microscale diffusion measurements. 5kDa FITC-dextran may be used to measure gut permeability in gut barrier dysfunction research.
Dextran labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate for possible use in perfusion studies in animals.

Preparation Note

Sigma typically tests the solubility of FITC dextrans in water at concentrations at or above 25 mg/ml. Solutions should be protected from light. In vivo, FITC-dextran is stable for more than 24 hours.


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Signal Word


Hazard Statements


Eye Irrit. 2 - Skin Irrit. 2 - STOT SE 3

Target Organs

Respiratory system


11 - Combustible Solids

WGK Germany


Flash Point(F)

Not applicable

Flash Point(C)

Not applicable

Personal Protective Equipment

dust mask type N95 (US),Eyeshields,Gloves

Certificate of Analysis

Certificate of Origin

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Additional information about FITC-labelled polysaccarides including FITC-Dextran, FITC-DEAE-dextran (FDD), FITC-carboxymethyl-dextran (FCM-Dextran). This page discusses the impact of weight-average molecular weight on the respective molecule dimensions and other physical properties
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Dextran is a polymer of anhydroglucose. It is composed of approximately 95% alpha-D-(166) linkages. The remaining (163) linkages account for the branching of dextran.
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