Chemistry and Metabolism of Glycosaminoglycans of the Nervous System

  • B. K. Bachhawat
  • K. A. Balasubramanian
  • A. S. Balasubramanian
  • M. Singh
  • E. George
  • E. V. Chandrasekaran
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 25)


Glycosaminoglycans are hexosamine containing polymers widely distributed in connective tissue. The structure of glycosaminoglycans as known today are shown in Fig. 1. All the glycosaminoglycans except hyaluronic acid are sulphated. Kerato sulphate does not have uronic acid in the molecule. Heparin is unique in that it has both sulphamino as well as sulphate ester groups. Heparan sulphate (not shown in the figure) is similar to heparin except for the presence of both N-acetyl and N-sulphated group in the molecule. Although the presence of glycosaminoglycans in brain has been shown by various workers, studies on their characterisation have been incomplete. From biochemical analysis, the presence of acidic glycosaminoglycans in brain was demonstrated by Meyer (1) and his associates and by Brante (2). Sulphate incorporation studies by Ringertz (3) suggested the presence of these compounds in mouse brain. In later years, Szabò and Roboz-Einstein (4) isolated glycosaminoglycans from bovine brain and identified them as chondroitin-4-sulphate and hyaluronic acid whereas Clausen and Hansen (5) isolated glycosaminoglycans from human brain and characterized them from electrophoretic and infra-red analysis as hyaluronic acid, chondroitin-6-sulphate and dermatan sulphate.


Hyaluronic Acid Heparan Sulphate Chondroitin Sulphate Uronic Acid Amino Sugar 
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Abbreviation used




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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. K. Bachhawat
    • 1
  • K. A. Balasubramanian
    • 1
  • A. S. Balasubramanian
    • 1
  • M. Singh
    • 1
  • E. George
    • 1
  • E. V. Chandrasekaran
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurochemistry Laboratory, Department of Neurological SciencesChristian Medical College HospitalVelloreS. India

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