To understand the effects of hyperosmolality on protein glycosylation, recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (rCHO) cells producing the Fc-fusion protein were cultivated in hyperosmolar medium resulting from adding NaCl (415mOsm/kg). The hyperosmotic culture showed increased specific Fc-fusion protein productivity (q(Fc)) but a decreased proportion of acidic isoforms and sialic acid content of the Fc-fusion protein. The intracellular and extracellular sialidase activities in the hyperosmotic cultures were similar to those in the control culture (314mOsm/kg), indicating that reduced sialylation of Fc-fusion protein at hyperosmolality was not due to elevated sialidase activity. Expression of 52 N-glycosylation-related genes was assessed by the NanoString nCounter system, which provides a direct digital readout using custom-designed color-coded probes. After 3 days of hyperosmotic culture, nine genes (ugp, slc35a3, slc35d2, gcs1, manea, mgat2, mgat5b, b4galt3, and b4galt4) were differentially expressed over 1.5-fold of the control, and all these genes were down-regulated. N-linked glycan analysis by anion exchange and hydrophilic interaction HPLC showed that the proportion of highly sialylated (di-, tri-, tetra-) and tetra-antennary N-linked glycans was significantly decreased upon hyperosmotic culture. Addition of betaine, an osmoprotectant, to the hyperosmotic culture significantly increased the proportion of highly sialylated and tetra-antennary N-linked glycans (P0.05), while it increased the expression of the N-glycan branching/antennary genes (mgat2 and mgat4b). Thus, decreased expression of the genes with roles in the N-glycan biosynthesis pathway correlated with reduced sialic acid content of Fc-fusion protein caused by hyperosmolar conditions. Taken together, the results obtained in this study provide a better understanding of the detrimental effects of hyperosmolality on N-glycosylation, especially sialylation, in rCHO cells. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 1721-1732. (c) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.