CSF N-Glycan Profiles to Investigate Biomarkers in Brain Developmental Disorders: Application to Leukodystrophies Related to eIF2B Mutations

Background

Primary or secondary abnormalities of glycosylation have been reported in various brain diseases. Decreased asialotransferrin to sialotransferrin ratio in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a diagnostic marker of leukodystrophies related to mutations of genes encoding translation initiation factor, EIF2B. We investigated the CSF glycome of eIF2B-mutated patients and age-matched normal individuals in order to further characterize the glycosylation defect for possible use as a biomarker.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We conducted a differential N-glycan analysis using MALDI-TOF/MS of permethylated N-glycans in CSF and plasma of controls and eIF2B-mutated patients. We found in control CSF that tri-antennary/bisecting and high mannose structures were highly represented in samples obtained between 1 to 5 years of age, whereas fucosylated, sialylated structures were predominant at later age. In CSF, but not in plasma, of eIF2B-mutated patient samples, we found increased relative intensity of bi-antennary structures and decreased tri-antennary/bisecting structures in N-glycan profiles. Four of these structures appeared to be biomarker candidates of glycomic profiles of eIF2B-related disorders.

Conclusion

Our results suggest a dynamic development of normal CSF N-glycan profiles from high mannose type structures to complex sialylated structures that could be correlated with postnatal brain maturation. CSF N-glycome analysis shows relevant quantitative changes associated with eIF2B related disorders. This approach could be applied to other neurological disorders involving developmental gliogenesis/synaptogenesis abnormalities.