Approaches in the study of ganglioside metabolism.

G. Tettamanti, R. Ghidoni, S. Sonnino, V. Chigorno, B. Venerando, A. Giuliani, A. Fiorilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ganglioside GM1, 3H-labeled in the sphingosine or terminal galactose moiety was injected into mice and its metabolic fate in the liver was followed. After administration of sphingosine-labeled GM1 all major liver gangliosides (GM3, GM2, GM1, GD1a-NeuAc, NeuG1) became radioactive, the radioactivity residing in all cases on the sphingosine moiety. The specific radioactivity was highest on GM1, followed by GM2, GM3 and GD1a-NeuAc, NeuG1. Several neutral glycosphingolipids and sphingomyelin were also formed. After administration of galactose-labelled GM1 the only radioactive gangliosides present in the liver were GM1 and GD1a-NeuAc, NeuG1, both carrying the radioactivity on the terminal galactose residue, with no formation of labelled neutral glycosphingolipids. Subcellular studies gave clear evidence that GM1, after being taken up by the liver, was mainly degraded to GM2, GM3 and neutral glycosphingolipids at the level of lysosomes. A part of it was sialylated to more complex gangliosides and some of its metabolic by-products were used for the biosynthesis of other sphingolipid species, likely at the level of the Golgi apparatus. All this suggests that exogenous GM1 is introduced in the metabolic routes of endogenous gangliosides and of other sphingolipids, which are operating in the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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