This paper describes structural characterization by NMR, MS and degradative studies of mucin glycans from normal human descending colon obtained freshly at autopsy. The saccharides were mainly based on core 3 (GlcNAcβ1-3GalNAc). Among the terminal saccharide determinants Sda/Cad-antigen-like structures were prominent, and Lewis x, sialyl Lewis x and sulphated Lewis x were found as minor components, whereas blood group H and A antigenic determinants were absent. The saccharides were markedly different from those of mucins from colon cancers or colon cancer cell lines analysed so far, in which cores 1 and 2 are prominent features, and in which various other terminal determinants have been found, but not Sda/Cad.

Abbreviations used: Gal, galactose; GalNAc, N-acetylgalactosamine; GalNAc-ol, N-acetylgalactosaminitol; GlcNAc, N-acetylglucosamine; HPAEC, high pH anion-exchange chromatography; MALDI–TOF, matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization–time-of-flight; NeuAc, N-acetylneuraminate.

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