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Biochemistry (Mosc). 1999 May;64(5):561-4.

Investigation of sialic acids and sialyltransferase activity in blood of patients with systemic scleroderma.

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  • 1Institute of Rheumatology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, 115522, Russia.


Systemic scleroderma (SSd) is a connective tissue disorder accompanied by generalized fibrosis. A disturbance of the synthesis and production of matrix glycoproteins, such as collagens, fibronectin, and proteoglycans, by connective tissue cells is typical for this disease. We previously demonstrated a decrease in the ganglioside content of cultured skin fibroblasts from patients with SSd. In this work the contents of sialoglycoproteins and sialoglycolipids in blood sera of patients with SSd were estimated. Simultaneously, the level of asialofetuin-sialyltransferase activity in blood plasma of three groups of patients--those with SSd, Raynaud's phenomenon, and with localized scleroderma--was investigated. CMP-5-acetamido-9-deoxy-9-fluoresceinylthioureidoneuraminic acid was used as a substrate for the enzyme assay. It was shown that the concentration of total sialic acid was increased and the concentration of lipid-bound sialic acid was slightly decreased in the blood sera of patients with SSd. A correlation between the lipid-bound sialic acid level and the severity of disease was observed; there was no correlation between severity of disease and total sialic acid. Sialyltransferase assay showed a decrease in the activity level in all three groups of patients. The greatest decrease (2-fold) of this activity was observed in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon. Our data suggest that in SSd and similar diseases the process of glycoconjugate sialylation is disturbed. These changes may considerably affect the mechanisms of regulation of metabolism and cellular interactions.

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