BACKGROUND The two common sialic acids (Sias) in mammals are N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) and its hydroxylated form N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc). Unlike most mammals, humans cannot synthesize Neu5Gc that is considered foreign and recognized by circulating antibodies. Thus, Neu5Gc is a potential xenogenic carbohydrate antigen in bioprosthetic heart valves (BHV) that tend to deteriorate in time within human patients. METHODS We investigated Neu5Gc expression in non-engineered animal-derived cardiac tissues and in clinically used commercial BHV, and evaluated Neu5Gc immunogenicity on BHV through recognition by human anti-Neu5Gc IgG. RESULTS Neu5Gc was detected by immunohistochemistry in porcine aortic valves and in porcine and bovine pericardium. Qualitative analysis of Sia linkages revealed Siaα2-3>Siaα2-6 on porcine/bovine pericardium while the opposite in porcine aortic/pulmonary valve cusps. Similarly, six commercial BHV containing either porcine aortic valve or porcine/bovine/equine pericardium revealed Siaα2-3>Siaα2-6 expression. Quantitative analysis of Sia by HPLC showed porcine/bovine pericardium express 4-fold higher Neu5Gc levels compared to the porcine aortic/pulmonary valves, with Neu5Ac at 6-fold over Neu5Gc. Likewise, Neu5Gc was expressed on commercial BHV (186.3±16.9 pmol Sia/μg protein), with Neu5Ac at 8-fold over Neu5Gc. Affinity-purified human anti-Neu5Gc IgG showing high specificity toward Neu5Gc-glycans (with no binding to Neu5Ac-glycans) on a glycan microarray, strongly bound to all tested commercial BHV, demonstrating Neu5Gc immune recognition in cardiac xenografts. CONCLUSIONS We conclusively demonstrated Neu5Gc expression in native cardiac tissues, as well as in six commercial BHV. These Neu5Gc xeno-antigens were recognized by human anti-Neu5Gc IgG, supporting their immunogenicity. Altogether, these findings suggest BHV-Neu5Gc/anti-Neu5Gc may play a role in valve deterioration warranting further investigation.