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J Biol Chem. 2011 May 20;286(20):17755-65. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.148874. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Comparative assessment of the effects of gender-specific heparan sulfates on mesenchymal stem cells.

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  • 1Stem Cells and Tissue Repair Group, Institute of Medical Biology, 8A Biomedical Grove, 06-06 Immunos, Singapore 138648.


We compare here the structural and functional properties of heparan sulfate (HS) chains from both male or female adult mouse liver through a combination of molecular sieving, enzymatic cleavage, and strong anion exchange-HPLC. The results demonstrated that male and female HS chains are significantly different by a number of parameters; size determination showed that HS chain lengths were ∼100 and ∼22 kDa, comprising 30-40 and 6-8 disaccharide repeats, respectively. Enzymatic depolymerization and disaccharide composition analyses also demonstrated significant differences in domain organization and fine structure. N-Unsubstituted glucosamine (ΔHexA-GlcNH(3)(+), ΔHexA-GlcNH(3)(+)(6S), ΔHexA(2S)-GlcNH(3)(+), and N-acetylglucosamine (ΔHexA-GlcNAc) are the predominant disaccharides in male mouse liver HS. However, N-sulfated glucosamine (ΔHexA-GlcNSO(3)) is the predominant disaccharide found in female liver. These structurally different male and female liver HS forms exert differential effects on human mesenchymal cell proliferation and subsequent osteogenic differentiation. The present study demonstrates the potential usefulness of gender-specific liver HS for the manipulation of human mesenchymal cell properties, including expansion, multipotentiality, and subsequent matrix mineralization. Our results suggest that HS chains show both tissue- and gender-specific differences in biochemical composition that directly reflect their biological activity.

© 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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