* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received June 3, 2002
Sialidase activity has been determined in homogenates of human aortic intima by measuring the amount of GM1 formed during the incubation of ganglioside GD1a with the tissue homogenates. Areas with atherosclerotic lesions as well as adjacent areas without histological evidence of atherosclerosis were taken for comparison. The rate of GM1 formation from GD1a in the presence of homogenates of the atherosclerotic intima was 20 pmol/h per mg protein. Homogenates of the unaffected intima did not desialylate GD1a. Sialidase activity of the atherosclerotic intima was linear for 1.5 h at GD1a content up to 1.5 nmol and at homogenate protein up to 1 µg. NH4Cl and NeuAc2en, inhibitors of lysosomal function and plasma membrane-bound sialidase, respectively, reduced sialidase activity of homogenates of the atherosclerotic intima by 94%. The results indicate that atherosclerotic lesions and unaffected intima differ in their activity and specificity of sialidases that cleave gangliosides.
KEY WORDS: sialidase activity, gangliosides, aortic intima, atherosclerosis