Orthotopic transplantation of v-src–expressing glioma cell lines into immunocompetent mice: establishment of a new transplantable in vivo model for malignant glioma

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The aim of this study was to develop and characterize a new orthotopic, syngeneic, transplantable mouse brain tumor model by using the cell lines Tu-9648 and Tu-2449, which were previously isolated from tumors that arose spontaneously in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-v-src transgenic mice.


Striatal implantation of a 1-μl suspension of 5000 to 10,000 cells from either clone into syngeneic B6C3F1 mice resulted in tumors that were histologically identified as malignant gliomas. Prior subcutaneous inoculations with irradiated autologous cells inhibited the otherwise robust development of a microscopically infiltrating malignant glioma. Untreated mice with implanted tumor cells were killed 12 days later, when the resultant gliomas were several millimeters in diameter. Immunohistochemically, the gliomas displayed both the astroglial marker GFAP and the oncogenic form of signal transducer and activator of transcription–3 (Stat3). This form is called tyrosine-705 phosphorylated Stat3, and is found in many malignant entities, including human gliomas. Phosphorylated Stat3 was particularly prominent, not only in the nucleus but also in the plasma membrane of peripherally infiltrating glioma cells, reflecting persistent overactivation of the Janus kinase/Stat3 signal transduction pathway. The Tu-2449 cells exhibited three non-random structural chromosomal aberrations, including a deletion of the long arm of chromosome 2 and an apparently balanced translocation between chromosomes 1 and 3. The GFAP-v-src transgene was mapped to the pericentromeric region of chromosome 18.


The high rate of engraftment, the similarity to the high-grade malignant glioma of origin, and the rapid, locally invasive growth of these tumors should make this murine model useful in testing novel therapies for human malignant gliomas.

Abbreviations used in this paper:FISH = fluorescence in situ hybridization; GBM = glioblastoma multiforme; GFAP = glial fibrillary acidic protein; IL-6 = interleukin-6; PNST = peripheral nerve sheath tumor; pY-Stat3 = tyrosine-705 phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription–3; SSC = standard saline citrate; TBS = Tris-buffered saline.

Article Information

Address reprint requests to: Henry M. Smilowitz, Ph.D., Department of Pharmacology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030. email: smilowitz@nso1.uchc.edu.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.



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    Photomicrographs showing sections used for histopathological examination of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded malignant gliomas, which was performed 12 days after implantation of 10,000 cells of the clone Tu-9648 or Tu-2449 (shown) into the striatum of syngeneic B6C3F1 mice. A: Transplanted tumor located in the striatum. Immunohistochemical labeling (red) for Stat3α is shown. The tumor nodule (red area), which is immunoreactive for Stat3, is not sharply delineated and has several small satellites. Bar = 250 μm. B: Axon bundles of the internal capsule, which are immuno-reactive for neurofilaments (red areas), are diffusely infiltrated by the implanted tumor. Bar = 150 μm. C: Diffusely infiltrating, polymorphic cells of a transplanted tumor. H & E, bar = 100 μm. D: The tumor cells show moderate to intense cytoplasmic GFAP immunoreactivity. Bar = 50 μm. E: Distinct, plasma membrane–associated immunoreactivity for activated pY-Stat3 of neoplastic cells is seen at the margin of a transplanted tumor (arrows). Nuclear pY-Stat3 labeling is minor to undetectable in this image's field, but was strong in other tumors derived from the transplanted cell lines (not shown). Bar = 50 μm. F: Margin of a glioma that spontaneously developed in a GFAP-v-src transgenic mouse. As in the transplanted tumors, the neoplastic cells show distinct pY-Stat3 immunoreactivity of the plasma membrane (arrows). In addition, nuclear labeling of neoplastic cells is prominent in this field. Bar = 50 μm.

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    Karyotype of a G-banded metaphase cell from a Tu-2449 lesion. Upper: Structurally rearranged chromosomes that could not be confidently identified using G-band analysis are indicated by the letter A. Lower: Fluorescence in situ hybridization with Cambio Mouse Rainbow FISH paint set 1 (whole chromosome paint probes 1–7) to a metaphase cell from a Tu-2449 lesion. Translocation between chromosomes 1 and 3 is indicated by blue and red arrows, respectively. Deletion of chromosome 2 (2A1) is marked with a green arrow.

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    An FISH study showing mapping of the GFAP-v-src transgene to the chromosome 18A1 region. Cohybridization of Cambio whole chromosome mouse paint for chromosome 18 and the GFAP-v-src transgene to Tu-2449 metaphase chromosome is shown. Red arrows point to chromosome 18, which is labeled with avidin and detected with avidin–Texas Red. Green arrows point to the v-src transgene probes labeled with digoxigenin and detected with antidigoxigenin fluorescein. Metaphase chromosomes are blue.

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    Kaplan–Meier plots showing the fraction of surviving mice according to days after intracerebral implantation of tumor cell lines. The Tu-9648 (upper) and Tu-2449 (lower) tumor cells were implanted with and without prior immunotherapy (immunized and nonimmunized). The B6C3F1 hybrid mice were challenged with either 5000 cultured Tu-9648 or 10,000 cultured Tu-2449 cells in the left striatum (Day 0). Immunized mice had received a series of four weekly subcutaneous injections of irradiated (50 Gy) Tu-9648 or Tu-2449 cells before the intracerebral challenge.



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