Gangliosides are normal constituents of the plasma membrane. Exogenous gangliosides can be incorporated into the membrane and extensive research in nervous tissue has demonstrated a beneficial effect of gangliosides on the functional recovery of lesioned neurons and protection against neurotoxins. This paper shows that the effect of gangliosides is not restricted to neurons. The monosialoganglioside GM1 efficiently increases the survival of thymocytes and protects them against both the lytic effect of the glucocorticoid prednisolone and the effect of a thymocytotoxic serum. The protective effect of GM1 was achieved both in vitro and in vivo.

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