While highly diverse when whole, the use of highly specific enzymes may be used to break down a GAG structure into its component disaccharides, giving valuable information regarding its composition.
We routinely perform GAG disaccharide analysis using either NSI-MS/MS or on one of the Agilent 1200 HPLC instruments in house. These instruments may be coupled to UV-VIS or in case of HPLC for fluorescence detection, as part of a post-column labeling instrument that provides limits of detection as low as 1-10ng of injected disaccharide (for fluorescence).
Alternatively, GAG disaccharides may be separated with Capillary Electrophoresis. The CCRC is equipped with a Beckman Coulter PA800 Pharmaceutical Capillary Electrophoresis system, as well as a CESI 8000 – a nanospray-compatible instrument for coupling with mass spectrometry.