Lactotransferrin was highly purified from lysates of human neutrophilic leucocytes by immuno-affinity chromatography. A comparative analysis of the molar carbohydrate compositions of human leucocyte lactotransferrin and human milk lactotransferrin reveals that the glycans of leucocyte lactotransferrin differ essentially by the absence of fucose residues. Structural analysis combining methylation-mass spectrometry and 400 MHz 1H-n.m.r. spectrometry of oligosaccharide alditols released from human leucocyte lactotransferrin shows the presence of two disialylated and non-fucosylated biantennary glycans of the N-acetyl-lactosaminic type. These results question a previously proposed mechanism for hyposideraemia in which the leucocyte lactotransferrin was involved and in which the fucose residues played a key role.

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