Elevated colonic microbiota-associated paucimannosidic and truncated N-glycans in pediatric ulcerative colitis

J Proteomics. 2021 Oct 30:249:104369. doi: 10.1016/j.jprot.2021.104369. Epub 2021 Sep 3.


Pediatric ulcerative colitis (UC) is a distinct type of inflammatory bowel disease with severe disease activity and rapid progression, which can lead to detrimental life-long consequences. The pathogenesis of pediatric UC remains unclear, although dysbiosis of the gut microbiota has been considered an important factor. In this study, we collected intestinal mucosal-luminal interface microbiota samples from a cohort of treatment-naïve pediatric UC or control patients and used two different mass spectrometry-based glycomic approaches to examine the N-glycans that were associated with the microbiota. We observed abundant small N-glycans that were associated with the microbiota and found that the pediatric UC microbiota samples contained significantly higher levels of these atypical N-glycans compared to those of controls. Four paucimannosidic or other truncated N-glycans were identified to successfully segregate UC from control patients with an area under the ROC curve of ≥0.9. This study indicates that the aberrant metabolism of glycans in the intestinal by gut microbiota may be involved in the pathogenesis of UC and intestinal N-glycans, including small glycans, can act as novel biomarker candidates for pediatric UC. SIGNIFICANCE: There is no cure for pediatric ulcerative colitis (UC) due to its unclear pathogenesis and the diagnosis of UC in children still largely depends on invasive colonoscopic examination. Recent evidence suggests that the dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota is associated with the onset and development of UC, however how the microbiota interact with the host remains unclear. This study used two different mass spectrometry-based glycomic approaches to quantitatively examine N-glycans that are associated with colonic mucosal-luminal interface microbiota of pediatric UC or control patients. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive glycomic study of intestinal microbiota samples in UC, which demonstrated that intestinal microbiota was associated with abundant atypical small N-glycans with elevated levels in UC than controls. This study also identified four intestinal paucimannosidic or other truncated N-glycans as promising biomarker candidates for pediatric UC. These findings shed light on the mechanism study of host-microbiome interactions in UC and indicate that atypical glycans present in the gut can be a source for UC biomarker discovery.

Keywords: Glycomics; Intestinal microbiota; N-glycan; Paucimannosidic glycan; Ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative* / diagnosis
  • Dysbiosis
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*
  • Polysaccharides


  • Polysaccharides

Supplementary concepts

  • Pediatric ulcerative colitis

Grants and funding