Bovine articular cartilage fibromodulin has been isolated from animals aged 3 months to 8 years, and the attached keratan sulphate (KS) chains digested with keratanase II. The oligosaccharides generated have been reduced, examined by high-pH anion-exchange chromatography and their structures identified by comparison with standards. It has been shown that in fibromodulin from young articular cartilage, the KS chains do not possess either non-reducing terminal (α2-6)-linked N-acetylneuraminic acid or fucose (α1-3)-linked to sulphated N-acetylglucosamine residues. However, an age-related increase has been observed in the abundance of both (α2-6)-linked N-acetylneuraminic acid and (α1-3)-linked fucose, neither of which is found in KS isolated from non-articular cartilage, irrespective of the age of the source. Interestingly, the KS chain length remains constant as a function of age, which possibly relates to a role in collagen fibril assembly. In addition, no significant age-related changes were identified in levels of galactose sulphation.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1998