Neuroprotective effects of gangliosides may involve inhibition of nitric oxide synthase

Ann Neurol. 1995 Jan;37(1):115-8. doi: 10.1002/ana.410370122.


Gangliosides are polar, sugar-containing lipids that are major constituents of neuronal membranes. Gangliosides are neuroprotective in animal models of neurotoxicity and may also be useful in patients with clinical conditions such as spinal cord injury. We show that a series of gangliosides inhibit nitric oxide synthase activity by binding calmodulin. The prevention of glutamate neurotoxicity in cortical cultures by gangliosides closely parallels their potencies in binding calmodulin and inhibiting nitric oxide synthase. Neuroprotective effects of gangliosides may arise from blockade of nitric oxide formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology
  • Calmodulin / metabolism
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gangliosides / pharmacology
  • Gangliosides / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Rats


  • Calmodulin
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins
  • Gangliosides
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases