Date of Defense

Spring 3-31-1992


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Leonard Ginsberg, Biological Sciences

Second Advisor

Susan Stapleton, Chemistry

Third Advisor

Charles Howard


Glycosaminoglycans (GAG) are integral components of the intercellular matrix and provide viscous and elastic chains of many proteoglycans, they may serve many of the ligand receptor functions. There are seven common types; each having a carboxyl group and/or acidic sulfate group. Most GAGs are arranged in chains and are hooked to a protein core. They have the ability to bind to many macromolecules which constitutes their interest in the study of many diseases. The relationship between GAGs and diabetes is under examination due to their role in the deposition of lipids in arterial walls that lead to atherosclerosis, a common occurrence in diabetes. The purpose of this project was to investigate the relationship of the colorimetric alcian blue assay method for the determination of the serum glycosaminoglycan content. The GAG level was studied with respect to age, sex, and type of diabetes. Initial data led to the conclusion that GAG levels increased to a certain age for the nondiabetic group, but declined thereafter. Using a larger sample, this correlation was not found to ccur, but a randomness in GAG levels was observed. Separation of the data by gender, however, revealed that GAG levels increase more drastically with age for females rather than for males. The results obtained in the study were complicated by the age of the frozen samples and the age distribution of the diabetic and nondiabetic animals. The results obtained support previous findings with human diabetes, however, definitive results would require fresh serum drawn from various aged matched primates.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only