The glycosylation of hemoglobin: relevance to diabetes mellitus

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 Apr 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4337, pp. 21-27
DOI: 10.1126/science.635569


Glucose reacts nonenzymatically with the NH2-terminal amino acid of the beta chain of human hemoglobin by way of a ketoamine linkage, resulting in the formation of hemoglobin AIc. Other minor components appear to be adducts of glucose 6-phosphate and fructose 1,6-diphosphate. These hemoglobins are formed slowly and continuously throughout the 120-day life-span of the red cell. There is a two- to threefold increase in hemoglobin AIc in the red cells of patients with diabetes mellitus. By providing an integrated measurement of blood glucose, hemoglobin AIc is useful in assessing the degree of diabetic control. Furthermore, this hemoglobin is a useful model of nonenzymatic glycosylation of other proteins that may be involved in the long-term complications of the disease.

Stay Connected to Science