UPLC-MS assessment on the structural similarity of recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) analogues from manufacturers in China for attribute monitoring. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recombinant human erythropoietin (rhEPO) is a glycoprotein that acts as the main hormone involved in regulating red blood cell production to treat anemia caused by chronic kidney disease or chemotherapy. Since the expiration of the patent of the innovator epoetin alfa, numerous rhEPO products have emerged in global markets. As described here, multiple complementary analytical approaches are utilized for the extensive characterization of rhEPO molecules, and more importantly for the structural comparison of the rhEPO analogues on the Chinese market. The focus of this study is placed on the overall glycosylation profiling, O-glycan profiling, and N-glycan mapping by UPLC-MS with an aim to develop an effective analytical methodology to monitor the product quality attributes of rhEPO analogues. Two rhEPO analogues manufactured in China were analyzed to demonstrate the principle of the developed methods. Each rhEPO product showed a characteristic glycoform profile with respect to the distribution of sialic acids across multi-antennary structures, the occurrence of O-glycosylation, O-acetylation on sialic acids, and the extension of N-glycan antennae with N-acetyllactosamine units. The study demonstrates that UPLC-MS is an effective analytical tool to characterize and monitor the glycosylation profiles among rhEPO analogues in order to detect and account for the divergence between rhEPO products, as well as the presence of unusual or unexpected glycans.

published proceedings

  • Talanta

altmetric score

  • 1.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Alley, W., Tao, L., Shion, H., Yu, Y. Q., Rao, C., & Chen, W.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Alley, William||Tao, Lei||Shion, Henry||Yu, Ying Qing||Rao, Chunming||Chen, Weibin

publication date

  • January 2020