Alteration in keratinocyte ganglioside content in basal cell carcinomas

Amy S. Paller*, Sheryl L. Arnsmeier, June K. Robinson, Eric G. Bremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We examined the ganglioside content of normal human keratinocytes and basal cell carcinomas (BCC). The total ganglioside content of the epidermis was 0.098 ± 0.01 μg lipid-bound sialic acid/mg dry weight. GM3 was the predominant ganglioside of epidermis. GM2 and GD3 were also found in significant amounts. Polysialylated gangliosides were identified in only small amounts. In contrast to all other body locations, breast epidermis showed large amounts of GM1. The total ganglioside content of nodular and sclerosing facial BCC was approximately 3.5 times that of normal facial epidermis. This marked elevation of total ganglioside was not affected by dermal ganglioside contamination, because the total ganglioside content of the dermis was similar to that of the epidermis. The relative percentage of GM2 was significantly decreased, whereas the relative percentage of GM3 was slightly decreased in BCC. 9-O-acetyl-GD3 was present in the BCC, but not in normal epidermis or dermis. 9-O-acetyl-GD3 may be a surface marker for BCC. Furthermore, the alterations in amount and composition of individual gangliosides on neoplastic membranes may lead to novel therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-232
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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