Clinical and diagnostic significance of sialic acids determination in biological material

Volkhina I.V.1 , Butolin E.G.2

1. Saint Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2. Izhevsk State Medical Academy, Izhevsk, Russia
Section: Review
DOI: 10.18097/PBMC20226801007      PubMed Id: 35221292
Year: 2022  Volume: 68  Issue: 1  Pages: 7-17
Sialic acids (SA) are derivatives of neuraminic acid; they are located at the terminal position in the chains of monosaccharide residues of various glycoconjugates. SA play a dual role, they either mask recognition sites, or, on the contrary, represent biological targets that can be recognized by receptor proteins and serve as ligands. The desialylation/sialylation processes can be viewed as a dynamic modification regulated by sialyltransferases and sialidases in response to external or internal stimuli. This review describes the structural and functional diversity and the potential use of SA fractions as biomarkers for various pathological conditions. Almost any extreme effects on the body and inflammatory processes lead to an increase in the level of both total and free SA in the blood and tissues. Possible reasons for the increase of sialoglycoconjugate metabolism indicators in biological material include activation of the hepatocyte synthesis and secretion of various acute-phase proteins, many of which are sialoglycoproteins, violation of the membrane integrity and destruction of body cells, and also high activity of sialidases (neurominidases) and sialyltransferases. Most acute and chronic liver diseases are characterized by the decrease in the total level of SA in the blood serum (because many plasma proteins are synthesized and glycosylated in hepatocytes). Aberrant sialylation results in changes of sialoglycoconjugate structure, its ability to perform biological functions and half-life. Glycosylation is the most common post-translational modification of proteins in the virus, which not only promotes the formation of specific conformation of viral proteins, but also modulates their interaction with receptors and affects host cell recognition, viral replication and infectivity. Serum total SA concentration increases in some benign and inflammatory conditions, which indicates a lack of specificity and limits their use for early detection and screening of neoplastic diseases. Nevertheless, determining blood SA level and measuring concentration of existing biomarkers can be used to improve diagnostic indicators, to stage and monitor therapeutic response in some types of cancer, when the need for specificity is less than for diagnosis. Clinical and diagnostic value of determining the sialoglycoconjugate metabolic indicators, including changes in the content of both SA fractions and specific proteins in various biological fluids and tissues, lies in establishing the causes and mechanisms of biochemical changes in the body in certain diseases.
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Keywords: sialic acids, sialoglycoconjugates, sialidase, sialyltransferase, sialylation, desialylation

Volkhina, I. V., Butolin, E. G. (2022). Clinical and diagnostic significance of sialic acids determination in biological material. Biomeditsinskaya Khimiya, 68(1), 7-17.
This paper is also available as the English translation: 10.1134/S199075082203012X
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