Recent Advances on the Chemistry and Localisation of Brain Gangliosides and Related Glycosphingolipids

  • H. Wiegandt
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 25)


Still very little is known about the biological function of the glycosphingolipids. Various experimental approaches were considered in the past by a great number of working groups to learn more of the possible physiological significances of these substances, in particular of their sialic acid containing representatives, the gangliosides. Hereby studies to localise more accurately these lipids in the organs at a cellular and subcellular level played a prominent role. A further attempt was to observe possible variations in the pattern of the glycosphingolipids under normal or pathological conditions. In fact, the quantitative distribution of these substances is not constant, but may change e. g. during the development of an organ (2) or a cellculture (3). Some such changes may partly also be sexdependent or hormoneinduced (4). Great emphasis has been placed lately by various investigators on the elucidation of changes in the pattern of glycosphingolipids during malignant cell transformation. It is of great importance of course for all such studies to know exactly the chemical nature of all the glycosphingolipids occurring normally in the tissue and their quantitative as well as qualitative distribution. This in mind, 1 would like with the present contribution to report about more recent experiments, which were carried out in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Rahmann and Dr. Rösner, Zoolog. Inst. University of Münster, Germany, aiming at a further localisation of the gangliosides in the central nervous system of fish. The brain ganglioside of fish is very rich in polysialolipids, i.e. tri-, tetra- and pentasialogangliosides (5). In collaboration with Dr. Ishizuka we have elucidated the chemical structures of these gangliosides. In the final portion of this lecture I would like to discuss newly discovered extraneural gangliosides from human as well as bovine spleen, kidney and liver.


Sialic Acid Carbohydrate Moiety Sialic Acid Residue Neuraminic Acid Human Spleen 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Wiegandt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Physiologische ChemiePhilipps-UniversitätMarburgGermany

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