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Disease Markers
Volume 25 (2008), Issue 3, Pages 167-173

Sialic Acid and Sialidase Activity in Acute Stroke

L. Nanetti,2 A. Vignini,2 F. Raffaelli,2 R. Taffi,1 M. Silvestrini,1 L. Provinciali,1 and L. Mazzanti2

1Department of Neurological Science, Marche Polytechnic University, Italy
2Institute of Biochemistry, Marche Polytechnic University, Italy

Received 8 December 2008; Accepted 8 December 2008

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Stroke is a heterogeneous syndrome caused by multiple disease mechanisms, resulting in a disruption of cerebral blood flow with subsequent tissue damage. It is well known that erythrocytes have a large amount of sialic acid and could represent a model to investigate changes occurring in a pathology like stroke. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible relationship among erythrocyte membrane, plasma and sialic acid content. The possible impact of the sialic acid content and the activity of sialidase on stroke severity was also evaluated.

The study population consisted of 54 patients with a first stroke and of 53 age-and sex matched healthy volunteers.

The total bound sialic acid was substantially decreased in patients. There was a significant correlation between the sialidase activity values and the severity of the neurological deficit defined by the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale.

This study shows that low sialic acid erythrocyte concentrations with contemporary high sialic acid plasma levels and elevated sialidase activity can be considered as markers of ischemic stroke. Further investigations are needed to clarify the possible role of these biochemical changes in producing and sustaining cerebral ischemic damage.