Quantitative glycan profiling of normal human plasma derived immunoglobulin and its fragments Fab and Fc

J Immunol Methods. 2012 Aug 31;382(1-2):167-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2012.05.022. Epub 2012 Jun 6.


Typical clinical grade human IgG (intravenous immunoglobulin, IVIG), used for carbohydrate analysis, is derived from thousands of healthy donors. Quantitative high-resolution glycan profiles of IgG and its Fc-Fab fragments are presented here. Glycan profiles were established following digestions with Fc specific endoglycosidase S and generic PNGase F under denaturing and non-denaturing (native) conditions. The native PNGase F glycan profile of IgG was similar (but not identical) to that of Endo S. Endo S profiles did not contain the glycans with bisecting GlcNAc. PNGase F glycan profiles were the same for Fc fragments that were isolated from pepsin and Ide S protease digests. Both isolated Fab fragments and the previously deglycosylated IVIG (native conditions) yielded the same glycan profile. Glycan profiles were established using high resolution HPLC with 2-aminobenzoic acid (2AA) labeling. An accurate determination of sialylation levels can be made by this method. Carbohydrate content in Fc and Fab was determined using an internal standard and corrected for both protein and glycan recoveries. Fab portion contained about 14% of the total carbohydrate which translates to 2.3 sugar chains per mol in IVIG where 2 chains are located in the CH2 domain of the Fc. Fc glycans consisted of neutral (N) 84.5%; mono-sialylated (S1) 15% and di-sialylated (S2) 0.5%. In contrast, Fab contained N, 21%; S1, 43% and S2, 36%. The distribution of bisecting N-acetylglucosamine and fucose was found to be very different in various glycans (N, S1 and S2) found in Fab and Fc. Total IgG glycan profile (Fab plus Fc) contained N, 78.5%; S1, 17% and S2, 4.5%. Percent distribution of glycans G0, G1 and G2 (with 0, 1 and 2 two galactoses) was 26, 49 and 25 respectively within the 78% of the neutral glycans. Glycan profiles were nearly the same for various clinical grade IVIG preparations from various manufacturers. A fast HPLC profiling method was developed for the separation and quantitation of IgG glycans (neutral (G0, G1, and G2), mono- and di-sialylated) using simple procedures. The method should prove useful for monitoring glycan changes in clinical settings.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments / isolation & purification
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / isolation & purification
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / immunology
  • Polysaccharides / analysis*
  • Polysaccharides / blood


  • Immunoglobulin Fab Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Polysaccharides