Clinical biochemistry

Sialic acid: a novel marker of cardiovascular disease?

PMID 16624269


The global burden posed by cardiovascular disease (CVD), due to a rising incidence of known risk factors, underlines an urgent need to identify other potential risk factors. Sialic acid (SA), an abundant terminal monosaccharide of glycoconjugates, is a possible risk factor for CVD. Although large-scale epidemiological surveys have shown that serum total sialic acid (TSA) is positively associated with mortality from coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke, studies investigating the correlation between serum TSA and the severity of atherosclerosis are conflicting. Clinical and epidemiological studies indicate that serum TSA is a marker of a sustained inflammatory response in CVD, rather than causal in nature. Data also indicates ethnic variation in baseline TSA. This article reviews current methods for determining serum TSA and evidence supporting serum TSA as a risk factor for CVD. Potential mechanisms for this role are examined. The use of serum TSA as a marker of atherosclerotic disease is evaluated.