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Glycobiology
Year: 2010  |  Volume: 20  |  Issue: 8  |  Page No.: 959 - 969

Effects of aging, body mass index, plasma lipid profiles, and smoking on human plasma N-glycans

A Knezevic, O Gornik, O Polasek, M Pucic, I Redzic, M Novokmet, P. M Rudd, A. F Wright, H Campbell, I Rudan and G. Lauc    

Abstract:

Protein glycosylation affects nearly all molecular interactions at the cell surface and in the intercellular space. Many of the physiological variations which are part of homeostatic mechanisms influence glycosylation. However, a comprehensive overview of changes in glycosylation caused by aging and common lifestyle parameters is still lacking. After analyzing N-glycans in the plasma of 1914 individuals from the Croatian islands of Vis and Korcula, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the dependence of different glycosylation features (position of fucose, level of galactosylation, sialylation and branching) on aging, smoking, body fat and plasma lipid status. A number of statistically significant associations were observed. Glycosylation changes with aging were especially evident in females, mostly in association with the transition from pre-menopausal to post-menopausal age. Levels of core-fucosylated, non-galactosylated, digalactosylated and disialylated biantennary glycans were shown to be mainly age dependent, but the level of branching and higher levels of galactosylation were found to correlate with lipid status. For the majority of glycans which we analyzed, all examined parameters explained up to 5% of the variance. The only notable exception were non-galactosylated glycans where 20% of the variance was explained mostly by age and blood pressure. In general, only a small fraction of the variability in glycan levels observed in a population was explained by age and other measured parameters, indicating that even in the absence of a genetic template, glycan levels are mostly determined by genetic background and/or specific pathophysiological processes.

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