, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 111-121

Gangliosides and neutral glycolipids in ependymal, neuronal and primitive neuroectodermal tumors

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Neutral glycolipid and ganglioside compositions were determined on 11 ependymal tumors, 12 medulloblastomas, 6 other neuronal tumors of the brain, 4 peripheral neuroblastomas, 1 cerebral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET), and 1 PNET of the thoracic wall. Within the group of tumors that can demonstrate neuronal phenotypes, there was an association between the degree of neuronal differentiation usually demonstrated by these tumors and the proportions of both GD1a and 1b-pathway gangliosides. The amount of globoside also correlated with the amount of 1b pathway gangliosides. Patients with medulloblastomas whose 1b gangliosides made up over 15% of the total gangliosides survived longer that those with lower proportions of 1b gangliosides. The only gangliosides in the choroid plexus papilloma were GM3 and GD1a, but other ependymal tumors had significant amounts of GD1b and its metabolic precursors. Ependymoma and anaplastic ependymoma had similar neutral glycolipid compositions, which were different from subependymoma, which lacked ceramide monohexoside and ceramide dihexoside. These differences in glycolipid compositions suggest that there may be fundamental biological differences between these types of ependymal tumors.

Ganglioside nomenclature is according to Svennerholm (Ledeen et al., 1988; Svennerholm, 1980).