Stability of N-glycan profiles in human plasma

Glycobiology. 2009 Dec;19(12):1547-53. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwp134. Epub 2009 Sep 2.


Glycan heterogeneity was shown to be associated with numerous diseases and glycan analysis has a great diagnostic potential. Recently, we reported high biological variability of human plasma N-glycome at the level of population. The observed variations were larger than changes reported to be associated with some diseases; thus, it was of great importance to examine the temporal constancy of human N-glycome before glycosylation changes could be routinely analyzed in diagnostic laboratories. Plasma samples were taken from 12 healthy individuals. The blood was drawn on seven occasions during 5 days. N-Linked glycans, released from plasma proteins, were separated using hydrophilic interaction high-performance liquid chromatography into 16 groups (GP1-GP16) and quantified. The results showed very small variation in all glycan groups, indicating very good temporal stability of N-glycome in a single individual. Coefficients of variation from 1.6% for GP8 to 11.4% for GP1 were observed. The average coefficient of variation was 5.6%. These variations were comparable to those observed when analytical procedure was tested for its precision. Good stability of plasma N-glycome in healthy individuals implies that glycosylation is under significant genetic control. Changes observed in glycan profiles are consequence of environmental influences and physiologic responses and therefore have a significant diagnostic potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Drug Stability*
  • Female
  • Glycomics / methods
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasma / chemistry
  • Plasma / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / blood*
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Blood Proteins
  • Polysaccharides