Isolated bovine spinal motoneurons have specific ganglioside antigens recognized by sera from patients with motor neuron disease and motor neuropathy
Motor Neuron Disease
The gangliosides GM1 and GD1b have recently been reported to be potential target antigens in human motor neuron disease (MND) or motor neuropathy. The mechanism for selective motoneuron and motor nerve impairment by the antibodies directed against these gangliosides, however, is not fully understood. We recently investigated the ganglioside composition of isolated bovine spinal motoneurons and found that the ganglioside pattern of the isolated motoneurons was extremely complex. GM1, GD1a, GD1b, and GT1b, which are major ganglioside components of CNS tissues, were only minor species in motoneurons. Among the various ganglioside species in motoneurons, several were immunoreactive to sera from patients with MND and motor neuropathy. One of these gangliosides was purified from bovine spinal cord and characterized as N-glycolylneuraminic acid-containing GM1 [GM1(NeuGc)] by compositional analysis, fast atom bombardment mass spectra, and the use of specific antibodies. Among seven sera with anti-GM1 antibody activities, five sera reacted with GM1(NeuGc) and two did not. Two other gangliosides, which were recognized by another patient's serum, appeared to be specific for motoneurons. We conclude that motoneurons contained, in addition to the known ganglioside antigens GM1 and GD1b, other specific ganglioside antigens that could be recognized by sera from patients with MND and motor neuropathy.