, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp 529-537

O-acetyl sialic acid specific IgM in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

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Initial studies have revealed an enhanced surface expression of O-acetylated sialoglycoconjugates (O-AcSGs) on lymphoblasts concomitant with high titres of IgG in childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) (Mandal C, Chatterjee M, Sinha D, Br J Haematol 110, 801–12, 2000). In our efforts to identify disease specific markers for ALL, we have affinity-purified IgM directed against O-AcSGs that reacts with three disease specific O-AcSGs present on membrane proteins derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of ALL patients. Antibody specificity towards O-AcSGs was confirmed by selective binding to erythrocytes bearing surface O-AcSGs, decreased binding with de-O-acetylated BSM and following pretreatment with O-acetyl esterase. Competitive inhibition ELISA demonstrated a higher avidity of IgM for O-AcSG than IgG. Flow cytometry demonstrated the diagnostic potential of purified O-AcSA IgM as binding was specific with ALL patients and minimal with other haematological disorders and normal individuals. It therefore may be adopted as a non-invasive approach for detection of childhood ALL. Taken together, the data indicates that carbohydrate epitopes having terminal O-AcSA α2 → 6 GalNAc determinants induce disease specific IgG and IgM, potentially useful molecular markers for childhood ALL.