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J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2006 Apr 13;834(1-2):1-13. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

Electrophoretic approaches to the analysis of complex polysaccharides.

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Department of Biologia Animale, Biological Chemistry Section, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Campi 213/d, 41100 Modena, Italy.


Complex polysaccharides, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), are a class of ubiquitous macromolecules exhibiting a wide range of biological functions. They are widely distributed as sidechains of proteoglycans (PGs) in the extracellular matrix and at cellular level. The recent emergence of enhanced analytical tools for their study has triggered a virtual explosion in the field of glycomics. Analytical electrophoretic separation techniques, including agarose-gel, capillary electrophoresis (HPCE) and fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis (FACE), of GAGs and GAG-derived oligosaccharides have been employed for the structural analysis and quantification of hyaluronic acid (HA), chondroitin sulfate (CS), dermatan sulfate (DS), keratan sulfate (KS), heparan sulfate (HS), heparin (Hep) and acidic bacterial polysaccharides. Furthermore, recent developments in the electrophoretic separation and detection of unsaturated disaccharides and oligosaccharides derived from GAGs by enzymatic or chemical degradation have made it possible to examine alterations of GAGs with respect to their amounts and fine structural features in various pathological conditions, thus becoming applicable for diagnosis. In this paper, the electromigration procedures developed to analyze and characterize complex polysaccharides are reviewed. Moreover, a critical evaluation of the biological relevance of the results obtained by these electrophoresis approaches is presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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