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Arthritis Rheum. 1993 Jul;36(7):938-42.

Characterization of gangliosides from normal and osteoarthritic human articular cartilage.

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Department of Biochemistry, Edouard Herriot Hospital, Lyon, France.



Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) are biologically active molecules in the physiology and pathology of cells. Since changes in GSLs might be associated with the impaired metabolism of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis (OA), we investigated gangliosides from normal and OA human cartilage.


OA and control cartilage was obtained from patients with hip OA and femoral neck fracture, respectively. Gangliosides were extracted and quantified by determining their lipid-bound sialic acid concentration. Major gangliosides were identified by immuno-detection on thin-layer plates, purified by high performance liquid chromatography, and analyzed for their carbohydrate, fatty acid, and long-chain base composition.


The total ganglioside content of OA cartilage was decreased by 40% (per mg of DNA). Major gangliosides, GM3 and GD3, separated into 3 on thin-layer chromatography bands. All were decreased except for the lowest migrating band of GM3, which was increased 5-fold. This ganglioside had the same carbohydrate moiety and fatty acids as the other two, but differed by a long-chain base composed mainly of C20-sphingosine.


OA cartilage is characterized by a decrease in all gangliosides except GM3, which demonstrates a large increase in the lowest band. These results indicate that there are changes in the biochemical composition of chondrocyte membranes in OA. The causes and roles of these changes remain to be determined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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