Gangliosides from normal leukocytes and the cells of 25 patients with acute and chronic leukemia were tested for the presence of the disialoganglioside II3-α-N-acetylneuraminosyl-α2→8-N-acetylneuraminosyllactosylceramide (GD3). GD3 was detected by immunostaining thin-layer chromatographs with an anti-GD3 monoclonal antibody (AbR24). Among the myeloid cells tested, acute leukemia cells were positive for GD3, whereas chronic leukemia cells and normal neutrophils did not have detectable GD3. A range of GD3 reactivity was apparent within the acute myeloid leukemia cells; gangliosides from pure myeloid leukemia cells stained more intensely than those from leukemia cells with monocytic characteristics. All lymphocytic leukemia cells (chronic and acute) contained GD3, but this ganglioside could not be detected in extracts from normal lymphocytes. A ganglioside extract from the cells of a patient with hairy cell leukemia was also positive for GD3 immunostaining. These results demonstrate that normal leukocytes and chronic myelogenous leukemia cells are distinguished from other lymphoid and nonlymphoid leukemia cells on the basis of GD3 ganglioside expression.


This study was supported in part by Grant 1462 from the Council for Tobacco Research-USA, Inc.

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