In a recent review article on the serum glycoproteins, Winzler1 called neuraminic acid (NA), or sialic acid (SA), "a component which has not yet been characterized chemically." He then added the prophetic statement, "It appears likely that the chemistry and distribution of this substance will be a topic of considerable interest in the future." The large number of papers which have appeared in the literature in the last few years dealing with the chemical structure of NA and its widespread occurrence as a constituent of the glycolipids and glycoproteins of many tissues and biologic fluids of animal origin has confirmed this prophecy. These publications indicate that this complex amino acid-sugar plays an important, if as yet undetermined, role in animal physiology.2
The structure of the "free" neuraminic acid (FNA) and some of its variously substituted derivatives (known collectively as "sialic acids") which have been isolated from biological material
SAIFER A, VOLK BW, ARONSON SM. Neuraminic (Sialic) Acid Studies of Biological Fluids in Amaurotic Family Idiocy and Related Disorders. AMA Am J Dis Child. 1959;97(5_PART_II):745–757. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1959.02070010747014
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: