Glycosphingolipid antigens in neural tumor cell lines and anti-glycosphingolipid antibodies in sera of patients with neural tumors

Toshio Ariga, Keiji Suetake, Makoto Nakane, Masaru Kubota, Seigo Usuki, Ikuo Kawashima, Robert K. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


To characterize biomarkers in neural tumors, we analyzed the acidic lipid fractions of 13 neural tumor cell lines using enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay (ELISA) and high-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) immunostaining. Sulfated glucuronosyl glycosphingolipids (SGGLs) are cell surface molecules that are endowed with the Human Natural Killer-1 (HNK-1) carbohydrate epitope. These glycosphingolipids (GSLs) were expressed in all cell lines with concentrations ranging from 210 to 330 ng per 2 × 10 6 cells. Sulfoglucuronosyl paragloboside (SGPG) was the prominent species with lesser amounts of sulfoglucuronosyl lactosaminyl paragloboside (SGLPG) in these tumor cell lines as assessed by quantitative HPTLC immunostaining. Among the gangliosides surveyed, GD3 and 9-O-acetylated GD3 (OAc-GD3) were expressed in all tumor cell lines. In contrast, fucosyl-GM1 was not found to restrict to small cell lung carcinoma cells. In addition, we have analyzed serum antibody titers against SGPG, GD3, and OAc-GD3 in patients with neural tumors by ELISA and HPTLC immunostaining. All sera had high titers of antibodies of the IgM isotype against SGPG (titers over 1:3,200), especially in tumors such as meningiomas, germinomas, orbital tumors, glioblastomas, medulloblastomas, and subependymomas. Serum in a patient with subependymomas also had a high anti-SGGL antibody titer of the IgG and IgA types (titers over 12,800). The titer of anti-GD3 antibody was also elevated in patients with subependymomas and medulloblastomas; the latter cases also had a high titer of antibody against OAc-GD3. Our data indicate that certain GSL antigens, especially SGGLs, GD3, and OAc-GD3, are expressed in neural tumor cells and may be considered as tumor-associated antigens that represent important biomarkers for neural tumors. Furthermore, antibody titers in sera of patients with these tumors may be of diagnostic value for monitoring the presence of tumor cells and tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • GD3
  • Neural tumors
  • Serum antibodies
  • Sulfated glucuronosyl glycosphingolipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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