It is now emerging the new concept that the antibodies from some patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) recognize an antigenic epitope formed by two different gangliosides, a ganglioside complex (GSC). We prepared the dimeric GM1-GD1a hybrid ganglioside derivative that contains two structurally different oligosaccharide chains to mimic the GSC. We use this compound to analyze sera from GBS patients by high-performance thin-layer chromatography immunostaining and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We also synthesized the dimeric GM1-GM1 and GD1a-GD1a compounds that were used in control experiments together with natural gangliosides. The hybrid dimeric GM1-GD1a was specifically recognized by human sera from GBS patients that developed anti-oligosaccharide antibodies specific for grouped complex oligosaccharides, confirming the information that GBS patients developed antibodies against a GSC. High-resolution 1H- 13C heteronuclear single-quantum coherence-nuclear overhauser effect spectroscopy nuclear magnetic resonance experiments showed an interaction between the IV Gal-H1 of GM1 and the IV Gal-H2 of GD1a suggesting that the two oligosaccharide chains of the dimeric ganglioside form a single epitope recognized by a single-antibody domain. The availability of a method capable to prepare several hybrid gangliosides, and the availability of simple analytical approaches, opens new perspectives for the understanding and the therapy of several neuropathies.
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