Human antiganglioside autoantibodies: validation of ELISA

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun;1050:229-42. doi: 10.1196/annals.1313.024.


Gangliosides have a hydrophilic sugar chain that contains antigenic determinants and a hydrophobic ceramide. In humans, gangliosides elicit a T-cell independent IgM response; antiganglioside IgM autoantibodies may be pentameric or polymeric. A correlation between specific neuropathies and antiganglioside autoantibodies has been confirmed. Although many neurologists attempt to lower titers of antiganglioside autoantibodies, oncologists are developing strategies to augment production of IgM antibodies that will remove immunosuppressive gangliosides from the circulation of patients and target gangliosides and kill tumor cells. Antiganglioside IgM antibodies can cause leakage of the blood-nerve barrier in a concentration-dependent and complement-independent manner, bind to neuronal gangliosides to create a neuromuscular block and serve as a marker of axonal damage in neuropathies such as multiple sclerosis. They are also a promising biomarker of early prostate cancer. There is a need to validate the protocol for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of antiganglioside IgM autoantibodies. This validation must consider the purity of gangliosides from different commercial sources, the coating of gangliosides onto a solid matrix in a manner that maximizes exposure of oligosaccharide epitopes to IgM paratopes, techniques to minimize background noise and eliminate nonspecific antibody binding, and carefully defined positive and negative controls. The validated protocol also must include a simple formula to estimate titers for several replicas. Finally, antibody titers must be converted to natural logs for statistical appraisal.

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / analysis*
  • Autoantigens / immunology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood-Nerve Barrier
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Gangliosides / blood
  • Gangliosides / chemistry
  • Gangliosides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / immunology
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Autoantibodies
  • Autoantigens
  • Biomarkers
  • Epitopes
  • Gangliosides
  • Immunoglobulin M