The asparagine-linked sugar chains in serum transferrin purified from patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (n = 13), healthy individuals (n = 5) and patients with liver cirrhosis (n = 6) were compared. Sugar chains released with N-glycanase from desialylated and pepsin-digested transferrin were derivatized by reductive pyridylamination. Analysis of the sugar chains by high performance liquid chromatography in combination with exoglycosidase digestion revealed an increase of a biantennary complex-type sugar chain with a fucosylated trimannosyl core; Galβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-2Manαl-6(Galβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-2Manαl-3) Manβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-4(Fucαl-6)GlcNAc in 7 of 13 cancer patients and an increase of a sugar chain with a fucosylated trimannosyl core and bisecting N-acetylglucosamine; Galβ 1-4GlcNAc-β1-2Manαl-6(GlcNAcβ1-4) (Galβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-2Manαl-3)Manβ1-4GlcNAcβ1-4(Fuc-α 1-6)GlcNAc in one of the 13 cancer patients. Further, the fucosylated alteration of the sugar chain was detected also in α1-antitrypsin, hemopexin, α1-acid glycoprotein and α2-HS glycoprotein from one of the patients with increased fucosylated transferrin.
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