Detection of glycosaminoglycans by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and silver staining

Wells B. Lariviere, Xiaorui Han, Kaori Oshima, Sarah A. McMurtry, Robert J. Linhardt, Eric P. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sulfated glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as heparan sulfate (HS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) are ubiquitous in living organisms and play a critical role in a variety of basic biological structures and processes. As polymers, GAGs exist as a polydisperse mixture containing polysaccharide chains that can range from 4000 Da to well over 40,000 Da. Within these chains exists domains of sulfation, conferring a pattern of negative charge that facilitates interaction with positively charged residues of cognate protein ligands. Sulfated domains of GAGs must be of sufficient length to allow for these electrostatic interactions. To understand the function of GAGs in biological tissues, the investigator must be able to isolate, purify, and measure the size of GAGs. This report describes a practical and versatile polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis-based technique that can be leveraged to resolve relatively small differences in size between GAGs isolated from a variety of biological tissue types.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62319
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number168
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


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