In regenerating rat liver slices 24 h after partial hepatectomy, the incorporation of [1-14C]glucosamine into ‘free sialic acid’ (N-acetylneuraminic acid + CMP-N-acetylneuraminic acid) decreased to below 50% of the control values and the incorporation into protein-bound sialic acid decreased to the same extent. The incorporation of [14C]glucosamine into ‘free sialic acid’ decreased during the period from 6 to 47 h after hepatectomy, showing a minimum at 12 h, and recovered to the control value by 96 h. At 12 h, the activities of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase (UDP-2-acetoamido-2-deoxy-D-glucose 2-epimerase, EC and N-acyl-D-mannosamine kinase (ATP: 2-acylamino-2-deoxy-D-mannose 6-phosphotransferase, EC in the liver were significantly decreased. The amount of protein-bound sialic acid in the liver was not changed after partial hepatectomy, but the amount in plasma was changed, with a similar pattern to that of the incorporation of [14C]glucosamine into slice ‘free sialic acid’. These results indicate that the synthesis of sialic acid in the liver much decreases in the early stage of regeneration and that this may be correlated with the decreased synthesis of plasma sialoglycoproteins.

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