Improved quantitation and discrimination of sulphated glycosaminoglycans by use of dimethylmethylene blue

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1986 Sep 4;883(2):173-7. doi: 10.1016/0304-4165(86)90306-5.


The dimethylmethylene blue assay for sulphated glycosaminoglycans has found wide acceptance as a quick and simple method of measuring the sulphated glycosaminoglycan content of tissues and fluids. The available assay methods have lacked specificity for sulphated glycosaminoglycans in the presence of other polyanions, however, and have not discriminated between the different sulphated glycosaminoglycans. We now describe a modified form of the dimethylmethylene blue assay that has improved specificity for sulphated glycosaminoglycans, and we show that in conjunction with specific polysaccharidases, the dimethylmethylene blue assay can be used to quantitate individual sulphated glycosaminoglycans.

MeSH terms

  • Chondroitin Lyases / metabolism
  • Glycosaminoglycans / analysis*
  • Glycoside Hydrolases*
  • Methylene Blue / analogs & derivatives*
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Sulfates
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Sulfates
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • keratan-sulfate endo-1,4-beta-galactosidase
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Chondroitin Lyases
  • Methylene Blue
  • 1,9-dimethylmethylene blue