We have studied the glycolipid composition of six different murine myelogenous leukemias as well as that of T-cell leukemias and normal spleen cells. Neutral and acidic lipid fractions were isolated by column chromatography on DEAE-Sephadex and analyzed by high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) and an HPTLC overlay method. Murine myelogenous leukemias were found to contain globo- and ganglio-series neutral glycolipids, e.g., glucosylceramide (Glc-cer), lactosylceramide (Lac-cer), globotriaosylceramide (Gb3), globoside (Gb4), Forssman glycolipid (Gb5), and asialo-GM1 (GA1). Monoblastic leukemia cells contained increased proportions of Gb3, Gb4, Gb5, and GA1. Monocytic and myelomonocytic leukemia cells contained increased proportions of Glc-cer and Lac-cer. Especially, Glc-cer accounted for approximately 60% of the total neutral glycolipids in monocytic leukemia cells. Gb3 was the major neutral glycolipid in reticulum cell neoplasm type A, and it accounted for approximately 75% of the neutral glycolipids. GA1 was the major neutral glycolipid in myeloblastic and granulocytic leukemia cells as well as T-cell leukemias. Especially, granulocytic leukemia cells contained predominantly GA1, and it accounted for approximately 80% of the total neutral glycolipids. The pattern of gangliosides in myelogenous leukemias was more complex when compared with that of the neutral glycolipids; murine myelogenous leukemias contained at least 13 gangliosides, including such major gangliosides as GM1, GM1b containing N-acetyl neuraminic acid and N-glycolyl neuraminic acid, and GalNAc-GM1b. Alterations of glycolipid composition in murine myeloid leukemias may be associated with cellular differentiation and maturation, and therefore these characteristic glycolipid species may be regarded as markers for specific populations of leukemia cells.
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