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Anal Biochem. 1991 Jan;192(1):193-6.

Sulfate composition of glycosaminoglycans determined by infrared spectroscopy.

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Purdue University Calumet Department of Chemistry and Physics, Hammond, Indiana 46323.


Anhydrous sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) was analyzed at varying concentrations by infrared (ir) spectroscopy. A standard curve was obtained from a linear plot of sulfate (SO2-(4] concentration vs the weight of the ir band area of S = O stretching. Standard chondroitin 4-sulfate, chondroitin 6-sulfate, heparan sulfate, heparin, keratan sulfates, and various dermatan sulfates isolated from human and rat skins were also studied by ir spectroscopy. The spectrum of every glycosaminoglycan (GAG) displayed an ir band around 1230 cm-1 which originated from S = O stretching of sulfate esters. Therefore, the weight of the latter band was employed to quantify sulfate, by using the standard curve indicated above. Sulfate was also estimated quantitatively by the gelatin/BaCl2 method of K.S. Dodgson and R.G. Price (Biochem. J. 1962, 84, 106-110). The sulfate composition determined by ir spectroscopy ranged from 8.5 to 22.1% (w/w), and agreed closely with the values obtained chemically. In the ir spectroscopy method, sulfate was determined using the polymer forms of the GAGs. After analysis, these heteropolysaccharides were recovered unaffected in a yield greater than 95%. The data show that the infrared spectroscopy technique, in addition to being sensitive and reliable, is much more economical than the chemical procedures currently employed to quantify GAG sulfate.

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