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Glycobiology. 2012 Jul;22(7):930-8. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cws061. Epub 2012 Mar 11.

High expression of lactotriaosylceramide, a differentiation-associated glycosphingolipid, in the bone marrow of acute myeloid leukemia patients.

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Institutes of Biology and Medical Sciences, First Affiliated Hospital, Soochow University, Suzhou, China.


Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are information-bearing biomolecules that play critical roles in embryonic development, signal transduction and carcinogenesis. Previous studies indicate that certain GSLs are associated with differentiation in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. In this study, we collected bone marrow samples from healthy donors and AML patients and analyzed the GSL expression profiles comprehensively using electrospray ionization linear ion-trap mass spectrometry. The results showed that AML patients had higher expression of the GSL lactotriaosylceramide (Lc3), GM3 and neolactotetraosylceramide (nLc4) in their bone marrow than did the healthy donors (P < 0.05), especially the M1 subtype of AML. To further explore the molecular mechanisms of Lc3, we examined the expression of the Lc3 synthase β1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase5 (β3Gn-T5) and found that the bone marrow samples of AML patients had 16-fold higher expression of β3Gn-T5 than those of healthy donors (P < 0.05). Our results suggest that AML-associated GSLs Lc3, GM3 and nLc4 are possibly involved in initiation and differentiation of AML.

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