• We profiled platelet glycans by sequential mass spectrometry to characterize functional glycan epitopes and diverse isomeric structures.

  • Sialylated structure abundance on N- and O-glycans decreases following room temperature storage.

Changes in surface glycan determinants, specifically sialic acid loss, determine platelet life span. The gradual loss of stored platelet quality is a complex process that fundamentally involves carbohydrate structures. Here, we applied lipophilic extraction and glycan release protocols to sequentially profile N- and O-linked glycans in freshly isolated and seven-day room temperature stored platelet concentrates. Analytical methods including matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), tandem mass spectrometry (MSn), and liquid chromatography (LC) were used to obtain structural details of selected glycans and terminal epitopes. The fresh platelet repertoire of surface structures revealed diverse N-glycans, including high mannose structures, complex glycans with polylactosamine repeats, and glycans presenting blood group epitopes. The O-glycan repertoire was largely comprised of sialylated and fucosylated core-1 and core-2 structures. For both N- and O-linked glycans, we observed a loss in sialylated epitopes with a reciprocal increase in neutral structures as well as increased neuraminidase activity following platelet storage at room temperature. The data indicate that loss of sialylated glycans is associated with diminished platelet quality and untimely removal of platelets following storage.

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