This course is discontinued

ERN5440 – Glycobiology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Glycobiology was introduced as a term in 1988 to describe a new frontier in molecular biology, the studies of structure, biosynthesis and biological functions of complex carbohydrates. During the last decade both detection and identification of complex carbohydrates has improved enormously and it has become apparent that most proteins and many lipids contain carbohydrate moieties that influence or be fundamental for their functions. The understanding of the biological roles of glycoconjugates has also increased, and we now know that they serve multiple functions, ranging from constructing extracellular matrix in all tissues and determining the trafficking of lymphocytes and granulocytes in the circulation to regulating growth factor activities and enzymes important in immune reactions. Today glycobiology is a research field of its own, important in many aspects of biological research.

Topics that will be presented in this course include e.g. proteoglycans, advanced glycation end products (AGE), glycoproteins and glycolipids.

One part of the course will focus on the glycobiology of diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, renal complications in diabetes and colon cancer.

Furthermore, the course will also address the generation of AGEs in diabetes and the effects of AGEs in the vascular system and on the filtration properties of the kidneys. The role of AGEs in the development of atherosclerosis will also be discussed.

Another part of the course will address the glycobiology of inflammation with emphasis on macrophages and mast cells, recruitment of immune cells basis from circulation and the glycobiological basis for the ABO blood group structures.

Other topics that will be discussed include Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation and dietary therapy, fibrotic diseases such as amylodosis and liver fibrosis and arthritis and glucosamine supplementation.

Learning outcome

In the course we will address the connection between structures and biological functions. Methods to analyze glyco-structures will be discussed, as will the biosynthesis, secretion and turnover of different glycoconjugates.

Basic concepts in glycobiology will be presented, and cutting edge research dealing with glycoconjugate structures and functions will be discussed.

After the course the student shall have knowledge of the different glycoconjugate structures in the body and biological functions associated with such structures. Furthermore, the student shall be able to outline the role of glycoconjugates in different diet-related diseases. The course is relvant for Ph.D. and Master students in nutrition, medicine, biology and other relevant areas.


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Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelordegree in nutrition, biology, biochemistry or equivalent


The course will be intensive during two weeks with active student participation, where after the students will be given three weeks to work with two exam papers under supervision of teacher. After the three weeks one of papers shall be presented for the whole group in a final workshop seminar.


The students will be evaluated on the basis of course papers.

Facts about this course




Every spring

May 3-15 2004 Contact


Every spring

Exam workshop 4th of June 2004

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)