Proteoglycans chondroitin sulfate (CSPG), which is commonly derived from salmon nasal cartilage, are a key ingredient in a variety of health products. As the popularity of healthy food grows, scientists are looking for alternative sources of CSPG. Researchers have now analyzed PG and their CS structures in the head cartilage of 10 edible bony fish, including sturgeon. Their findings point to several new fish that could serve as an alternative to salmon as a source of CSPG.
Agrecan, a major component of proteoglycan (PG) that contains chondroitin sulfate (CS) in cartilage, is becoming increasingly popular as a healthy food ingredient. In fact, salmon nasal cartilage proteoglycans exhibit biological properties such as anti-aging, inhibition of angiogenesis, and attenuation of inflammatory responses. Commercially available proteoglycans chondroitin sulfate (CSPG) were prepared only from salmon nasal cartilage. Although head cartilage has been found in other edible bone fish, information on the composition of major proteins and their CS structures in head cartilage is scarce.
Now in a new study published in International Journal of Macromolecule Biology, a team of researchers led by Associate Professor Kohei Higashi of the University of Tokyo, as well as Dr. Naoshi Dohmae and Dr. Takehira Suzuki of the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resources Science is addressing this issue. “We found that the composition of PGs and their CS structure in the skull of Siberian sturgeon and Russian sturgeon are similar to the composition of salmon nasal cartilage,” said Dr. Higashi. The fish for the research was provided by Mr. Atsuhi Nakamura of the Miyazaki Prefecture Fisheries Research Institute. This study was published online on March 23, 2022 and published in Volume 208 of the Journal on May 31, 2022.
All fish studied contained a lot of CSPG in the cartilage of the head. A comprehensive analysis of the CS structure in PGs derived from 10 bony fish showed that the CS structure derived from Perciformes was similar to the CS structure derived from terrestrial animal cartilage. On the other hand, the structure of the COP from the skull of sturgeon was similar to the structure of the COP from the nasal cartilage of salmon. In addition, they also found that aggrecan, the major CSPG in cartilage, was preserved in 10 bony fish. In fact, the aggrecan protein from the LOC117428125 and LOC117964296 genes, registered in the National Biotechnology Information Center database, was found in large numbers in the sturgeon skull. In addition, the composition of other PGs, collagen, and matrix proteins in the sturgeon skull was similar to that of salmon nasal cartilage.
Clarifying the results of this study, Dr. Kehei Higashi says: “The cartilage of the head of bony fish is an underutilized resource and is usually discarded after food processing. Sturgeon has great potential to become an alternative source of CSPG for healthy food recipes. ”
The researchers hope that as a result of further research to evaluate the biological properties of sturgeon PGs, bony fish may become an important source for CS as well as PGs.
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