Primary and metastatic brain tumours may result in an altered exposure of normal cellular components to the immune system inducing an immune response measurable in autoantibodies. One potential immunogenic molecule is sulphatide, the major acidic glycolipid in myelin. Thirty-eight sera from 31 patients with primary and metastatic brain tumours have, therefore, been analyzed for the presence of antisulphatide antibodies by an ELISA performed on thin layer chromatography plates. Twenty-eight of the thirty-eight sera (74%) showed a positive antibody titre to sulphatide. The antibody titres were significantly higher (p < 0.01) in sera from patients with primary brain tumours than in sera from those with metastases. The study lends support to the possibility that antisulphatide antibodies could contribute to tissue damage and this might facilitate the invasive growth in primary brain tumours by demyelination. However, the pathogenic significance of these autoantibodies remains to be further elucidated.

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