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Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are important constituents of human glycome. They are negatively charged unbranched polysaccharides that are usually covalently attached to proteins, forming glycan-protein conjugates, called proteoglycans. Glycosaminoglycans play critical roles in numerous biological processes throughout individual development and are also involved in the pathological processes of various diseases. Based on their remarkable bioactivities and their universal involvement in disease progression, GAGs are applied as therapeutics or are being targeted or used in treating diseases. In this chapter, we introduce the characteristics of the four classes of GAGs that constitute the glycosaminoglycan family. The pathological roles of glycosaminoglycans in major diseases including innate disease, infectious disease, and cancer are discussed. The application of GAGs and their mimetics as therapeutics is introduced, as well as those therapeutic methods developed based on GAGs' role in pathogenesis. In addition, we provide a brief and overall lookback at the history of GAG research and sort out some critical techniques that facilitated GAG and glycomics studies. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Yuefan Song, Fuming Zhang, Robert J Linhardt. Glycosaminoglycans. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2021;1325:103-116

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PMID: 34495531

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