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Neurochem Res. 1997 Aug;22(8):1071-83.

Glycosphingolipids as potential diagnostic markers and/or antigens in neurological disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry, Göteborg University, Sweden.


Glycosphingolipids are most abundant in the nervous system within which are developmental, regional, structural and cellular differences regarding their composition. The are shedded to the cerebrospinal fluid and thus potential markers for pathogenic alterations in the brain, such as developmental abnormalities, demyelination, gliosis, neuronal cell destruction. The glycosphingolipids have also been found to be antigens in autoimmune processes involving the nervous system, in particular in peripheral neuropathies like Guillain Barré syndrome, multifocal motor neuropathy etc. The immune response might have been triggered by infectious agents with an antigen epitope which mimic the glycosphingolipid or by a primary nerve tissue damage leading to release of glycosphingolipids. There is a series of support for a clinical significance of cerebrospinal fluid glycosphingolipid determinations and the presence of anti-glycosphingolipid antibodies but this has to be further explored. This paper is a mini review of the state of the art and discuss methodological aspects and improvements that might help to explore the relevance of glycosphingolipids in neurological disorders.

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