In this paper we describe a method optimized for the purification of uridine diphosphate (UDP)-sugars from liver, adipose tissue, brain, and heart, with highly reproducible up to 85% recoveries. Rapid tissue homogenization in cold ethanol, lipid removal by butanol extraction, and purification with a graphitized carbon column resulted in isolation of picomolar quantities of the UDP-sugars from 10 to 30mg of tissue. The UDP-sugars were baseline separated from each other, and from all major nucleotides using a CarboPac PA1 anion exchange column eluted with a gradient of acetate and borate buffers. The extraction and purification protocol produced samples with few unidentified peaks. UDP-N-acetylglucosamine was a dominant UDP-sugar in all the rat tissues studied. However, brain and adipose tissue showed high UDP-glucose levels, equal to that of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine. The UDP-N-acetylglucosamine showed 2.3-2.7 times higher levels than UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine in all tissues, and about the same ratio was found between UDP-glucose and UDP-galactose in adipose tissue and brain (2.6 and 2.8, respectively). Interestingly, the UDP-glucose/UDP-galactose ratio was markedly lower in liver (1.1) and heart (1.7). The UDP-N-acetylglucosamine/UDP-glucuronic acid ratio was also constant, between 9.7 and 7.7, except in liver with the ratio as low as 1.8. The distinct UDP-glucose/galactose ratio, and the abundance of UDP-glucuronic acid may reflect the specific role of liver in glycogen synthesis, and metabolism of hormones and xenobiotics, respectively, using these UDP-sugars as substrates.
Keywords: Anion exchange HPLC; Boric acid; Ion-pair solid-phase column; Tissue extraction; UDP-sugar.
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