Antisera to different glycolipids induce myelin alterations in mouse spinal cord tissue cultures

German A. Roth, Matias Röyttä, Robert K. Yu, Cedric S. Raine, Murray B. Bornstein

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34 Scopus citations


To study the demyelinative effects of antibodies to glycolipids, well-myelinated cultures of mouse spinal cord tissue were exposed to antisera against galactocerebroside and two gangliosides (GM1 and GM4), as well as to anti-white matter antiserum. The demyelinative process was evaluated by morphologic and biochemical techniques. Cultures exposed to anti-white matter and anti-galactocerebroside antisera showed the most marked changes. These consisted of a decrease in the number of oligodendroglial cells and dissolution and phagocytosis of myelin. Concomitantly, the activity of 2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide-3′-phosphohydrolase (CNPase) was decreased by 60-70%. This occured within 24 h of exposure to a relatively low concentration of serum (10%). Cultures exposed to anit-GM1 and anti-GM4 antisera showed similar changes but to a lasser degree. The CNPase activity was decreased about 30% within 48 h of exposure to a 25% concentration of these antisera. This diminution represents about a 20% loss of myelin, an observation corroborated by electron microscopy where myelin but not oligodendroglial cell was observed. Therefore, in addition to anti-galactocerebroside activity, which was previously found to be the major antibody responsible for the demyelinating activity induced by anti-whole CNS tissue antiserum, these data suggest that antibodies to gangliosides like GM1 and GM4 might also play a role in immune-mediated demyelination, including perhaps, the human demyelinating diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 22 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • 2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide-3′-phosphohydrolase
  • autoimmunity
  • demyelination
  • experimental allergic encephalomyelitis
  • galactocerebroside
  • ganglioside
  • glycolipid
  • multiple sclerosis
  • tissue culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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