Determination of the glycosaminoglycan and collagen contents in tissue samples by high-resolution 1H NMR spectroscopy after DCl-induced hydrolysis

Biomacromolecules. 2012 Jul 9;13(7):2110-7. doi: 10.1021/bm300485j. Epub 2012 Jun 19.


The determination of the collagen and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) contents of native and particularly bioengineered tissues is of considerable interest because the collagen-to-GAG ratio determines the water content of the tissue, which is crucial regarding its mechanical properties. (1)H NMR spectroscopy subsequent to the hydrolysis of the sample by aqueous 6 M DCl at 353 K is used to determine the GAG and collagen contents simultaneously. Under these strongly acidic conditions the biopolymers of the extracellular matrix, collagen, and GAG are fragmented into their individual monomers, that is, free amino acids from collagen and monosaccharides from the polymer repeat units of GAGs. The amino acid amount can be easily determined in the presence of an internal standard by (1)H NMR spectroscopy because amino acids proved to be stable under acidic conditions. The carbohydrates are subject to charring in the presence of concentrated DCl, but glucosamine and galactosamine were found to be sufficiently stable for quantification under the chosen conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylgalactosamine / chemistry
  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Cartilage / chemistry
  • Cattle
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / chemistry
  • Collagen / chemistry*
  • Deuterium
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Glucosamine / chemistry
  • Glycosaminoglycans / chemistry*
  • Hyaluronic Acid / chemistry
  • Hydrochloric Acid / chemistry*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Tendons / chemistry


  • Amino Acids
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Collagen
  • Deuterium
  • Acetylgalactosamine
  • Glucosamine
  • Hydrochloric Acid