Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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Year : 1990  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 140-2  

Serum sialic acid levels in healthy individuals.

VK Hangloo, I Kaul, HU Zargar 
 Department of Surgery, Govt. Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

Correspondence Address:
V K Hangloo
Department of Surgery, Govt. Medical College, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.


Serum sialic acid values, estimated by thiobarbituric acid method of Warren as modified by Saifer and Gerstenfeld in 50 normal healthy persons of both sexes are reported. The average values were 68.47 +/- 4.85 mg% and 67.77 +/- 7.87 mg% for males and females respectively and for both sexes the value was 68.12 +/- 6.70 mg%. Age and sex have no influence on sialic acid levels in serum.

How to cite this article:
Hangloo V K, Kaul I, Zargar H U. Serum sialic acid levels in healthy individuals. J Postgrad Med 1990;36:140-2

How to cite this URL:
Hangloo V K, Kaul I, Zargar H U. Serum sialic acid levels in healthy individuals. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1990 [cited 2023 Mar 21 ];36:140-2
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  ::   IntroductionTop

Serum sialic acid is a protein-bound carbohydrate considered to be a mono-saccharide and occurs in combination with other mono- saccharides like galactose, mannose, glucosamine, galactosamine and fucose. Sialic acid is the group name for the acetylated neuraminic acids, such as N-acetyl neuraminic acid, N-glycolyl neuraminic acid and Di-acetyl neuraminic acid. Only N-acetyl neuraminic acid has been isolated from human serum. There is lot of confusion in the nomenclature used to classify protein bound carbohydrates. Winzler [12] described sialic acid under plasma glycoproteins, while Miettinen[7] grouped them under mucoproteins. It has been reported that human serum contains almost no free sialic acid and 90% of this serum sialic acid is bound to alpha and beta globulins[2],[4].

In the last few years, different workers all over the world have demonstrated that concentration of sialic acid in the human serum is abnormally high in a number of pathological states where the underlying pathology is either of tissue destruction, tissue proliferation, depolymerization or inflammation.

Serum sialic acid levels may find some diagnostic application. It was therefore considered necessary to establish normal values for healthy individuals. As the figures for serum sialic acid reported from other countries show a surprisingly wide scatter, viz. 67.6 ? 5.6 mg%;[2] 58 ? 8 mg%;[1] 58 ? 1.3 mg%;[6] and 67.7 ? 6.1 mg% [8] and these may not be applicable for Indian population in general, our aim was to establish its normal range for local population groups. There are very few reports on its estimation from our country[9]. In the present study, serum sialic acid was estimated by thiobarbituric acid method of Warren [11] as modified by Saifer and Gerstenfeld[8].

  ::   Material and methodTop

Fifty healthy individuals (25 male and 25 female) in the age group between 18 and 40 years free from disease were the subjects for this study. Serum sialic acid was estimated by thiobarbituric acid method of Warren[11] as modified by Saifer and Gerstenfeld[8]. Pure sialic acid (Sigma, USA) was used for preparing standard solution. Optical density was read at 550 mu in B and L spectronic 20 calorimeter.

  ::   ResultsTop

[Table:1] shows the serum sialic acid levels in males and females. There is no significant difference as far as sex is concerned.

[Table:2] indicates that no significant difference is observed in different age groups for serum sialic acid levels.

  ::   DiscussionTop

The mean value of serum sialic acid for males was 68.47 plus-minus 4.85 mg%, for females was 67.77 plus-minus 7.87 mg% and for both 68.12 plus-minus 6.70 mg%. Further no significant difference in the serum sialic acid values of males and females was observed (p > .05) and there was no significant variation in values in the various age groups. Singh and Ramraju[9] also reported that age and sex have no influence on the sialic acid levels in the serum. The values observed are almost identical to those observed by Saifer and Gerstenfeld (66.7 plus-minus 6.1 mg%); Dutt et al[3] (67 mg%); and Carter and Martin[2] (67 plus-minus 5.6 mg%). The normal value of 68.12 ? 6.70 mg% obtained in the present study is lower than that reported by Gupta et al[5] (76.1 plus-minus 1.3 mg%) for males and hi her than that reported by Mcbeth and Bekes[6] (58 plus-minus 1.3 mg%). This could probably be due to different method used for estimation e.g. Gupta et al Winzler's Method[12] and Svennerholm method[10] by Mcbeth and Bekesi.


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12Winzier RJ. In: "Method of Biochemical Analysis." II. New York: Interscience Publisher; 1958, pp 279.

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