The purpose of this study was to study changes in glycosylation in tear and saliva obtained from control and ocular rosacea patients in order to identify potential biomarkers for rosacea. Tear fluid was collected from 51 subjects (28 healthy controls and 23 patients with ocular rosacea). Saliva was collected from 42 of the same subjects (25 controls and 17 patients). Pooled and individual samples were examined to determine overall glycan profiles and individual variations in glycosylation. O-and N- glycans were released from both patients and control subjects. Released glycans were purified and enriched by solid-phase extraction (SPE) with graphitized carbon. Glycans were eluted based on glycan size and polarity. SPE fractions were then analyzed by high-resolution mass spectrometry. Glycan compositions were assigned by accurate masses. Their structures were further elucidated by tandem mass spectrometric using collision-induced dissociation (CID), and specific linkage information was obtained by exoglycosidase digestion. N- and O-glycans were released from 20-μL samples without protein identification, separation, and purification. Approximately 50 N-glycans and 70 O-glycans were globally profiled by mass spectrometry. Most N-glycans were highly fucosylated, while O-glycans were sulfated. Normal tear fluid and saliva contain highly fucosylated glycans. The numbers of sulfated glycans were dramatically increased in tear and saliva of rosacea patients compared to controls. Glycans found in tear and saliva from roseatic patients present highly quantitative similarity. The abundance of highly fucosylated N-glycans in the control samples and sulfated O-glycans in ocular rosacea patient samples may lead to the discovery of an objective diagnostic marker for the disease.
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