Acidic glycosaminoglycans in human skin during fetal development and adult life

Moira Breen*, H. G. Weinstein, Ruth L. Johnson, A. Veis, R. T. Marshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


1. 1. There is little information on the acidic glycosaminoglycans in human skin during fetal development. The present study was undertaken to compare the concentration and composition of skin acidic glycosaminoglycans in the developing human fetus with the adult. 2. 2. Hyaluronic acid, dermatan sulfate and chondroitin 4 (6)-sulfate were found in adult skin and in fetal skin from 5.5 months to term. Skin from a 3-month-old fetus contained only hyaluronic acid and chondroitin 4(6)-sulfate. 3. 3. The concentration of the acidic glycosaminoglycans in fetal skin at 3, 5.5 and 9 months gestation was twenty times, five times, and twice the adult levels respectively; the negative correlation was highly significant. The decrease in skin acidic glycosaminoglycans during this developmental period was due to primarily to the fall in hyaluronic acid. 4. 4. There was a highly significant positive correlation of the galactosamine: hexosamine mole ratio of skin acidic glycosaminoglycans with fetal age, indicating a relative increase in the sulfated skin acidic glycosaminoglycans as the fetus developed. 5. 5. Back and abdominal skin from the same fetal subject had the same acidic glycosaminoglycans concentration and composition; no significant difference was observed between adult abdominal and adult collar-line (exposed part of the back of neck) skin. 6. 6. The changes in the composition and concentration of skin acidic glycosaminoglycans occur primarily during fetal development and childhood growth. Very little change occurs during adult life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalBBA - General Subjects
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 27 1970

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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