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  • Author or Editor: Helen L. Fillmore x
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R. Mark Richardson, Helen L. Fillmore, Kathryn L. Holloway and William C. Broaddus

Object. Given the success and limitations of human fetal primary neural tissue transplantation, neuronal stem cells (NSCs) that can be adequately expanded in culture have been the focus of numerous attempts to develop a superior source of replacement cells for restorative neurosurgery. To clarify recent progress toward this goal, the transplantation into the adult brain of NSCs, expanded in vitro before grafting, was reviewed.

Methods. Neuronal stem cells can be expanded from a variety of sources, including embryos, fetuses, adult bone marrow, and adult brain tissue. Recent investigations of each of these expanded stem cell types have generated a large body of information along with a great number of unanswered questions regarding the ability of these cells to replace damaged neurons. Expanded NSCs offer many advantages over their primary tissue predecessors, but also may exhibit different functional abilities as grafted cells. Because expanded NSCs will most likely ultimately replace primary tissue grafting in clinical trials, this review was undertaken to focus solely on this distinct body of work and to summarize clearly the existing preclinical data regarding the in vivo successes, limits, and unknowns of using each expanded NSC type when transplanted into the adult brain.

Conclusions. Embryonic stem cell—derived cells have demonstrated appropriate neuronal phenotypes after transplantation into nonneurogenic areas of the adult brain. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for this may lead to similar success with less studied adult neuronal progenitor cells, which offer the potential for autologous NSC transplantation with less risk of tumorigenesis.

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Archana Chidambaram, Helen L. Fillmore, Timothy E. Van Meter, Catherine I. Dumur and William C. Broaddus

Object

The Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) protein—a developmentally regulated transcription factor—is aberrantly expressed in gliomas and promotes their malignant phenotype. However, little is known about the molecular allies that help it mediate its oncogenic functions in glioma cells.

Methods

The authors used short interfering RNA (siRNA) to suppress WT1 expression in glioblastoma (GBM) cells and evaluated the effect of this on GBM cell invasiveness. Gene expression analysis was then used to identify the candidate genes that were altered as a result of WT1 silencing. One candidate target, CD97, was then selected for further investigation into its role by suppressing its expression using siRNA silencing, followed by proliferation and invasion assays.

Results

WT1 levels were reliably and reproducibly suppressed by siRNA application. This resulted in a significant decrease in cellular invasiveness. Microarray analyses identified the gene products that were consistently downregulated (27) and upregulated (11) with WT1 silencing. Of these, CD97 expression was consistently suppressed across the 3 different GBM cell lines studied and was found on further investigation to significantly impact GBM cell invasiveness.

Conclusions

Although CD97 expression in gliomas has not been described previously, we conclude that the possible upregulation of CD97 mediated by WT1 promotes cellular invasiveness—one of the most characteristic and challenging aspects of glial tumor cells. Further studies are needed to clarify the nature of this regulation and its impact, as CD97 could represent a novel target for antiglioma therapies.

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Aravind Somasundaram, Nathan Ardanowski, Charles F. Opalak, Helen L. Fillmore, Archana Chidambaram and William C. Broaddus

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common type of primary brain tumor, and current treatment regimens are only marginally effective. One of the most vexing and malignant aspects of GBM is its pervasive infiltration into surrounding brain tissue. This review describes the role of the Wilms tumor 1 gene (WT1) and its relationship to GBM. WT1 has several alternative splicing products, one of which, the KTS+ variant, has been demonstrated to be involved in the transcriptional activation of a variety of oncogenes as well as the inhibition of tumor suppressor genes. Further, this paper will examine the relationship of WT1 with CD97, a gene that codes for an epidermal growth factor receptor family member, an adhesion G-protein–coupled receptor, thought to promote tumor invasiveness and migration. The authors suggest that further research into WT1 and CD97 will allow clinicians to begin to deal more effectively with the infiltrative behavior displayed by GBM and design new therapies that target this deadly disease.

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R. Mark Richardson, Amanpreet Singh, Dong Sun, Helen L. Fillmore, Dalton W. Dietrich III and M. Ross Bullock

Approximately 350,000 individuals in the US are affected annually by severe and moderate traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that may result in long-term disability. This rate of injury has produced ~ 3.3 million disabled survivors in the US alone. There is currently no specific treatment available for TBI other than supportive care, but aggressive prehospital resuscitation, rapid triage, and intensive care have reduced mortality rates. With the recent demonstration that neurogenesis occurs in all mammals (including man) throughout adult life, albeit at a low rate, the concept of replacing neurons lost after TBI is now becoming a reality. Experimental rodent models have shown that neurogenesis is accelerated after TBI, especially in juveniles. Two approaches have been followed in these rodent models to test possible therapeutic approaches that could enhance neuronal replacement in humans after TBI. The first has been to define and quantify the phenomenon of de novo hippocampal and cortical neurogenesis after TBI and find ways to enhance this (for example by exogenous trophic factor administration). A second approach has been the transplantation of different types of neural progenitor cells after TBI. In this review the authors discuss some of the processes that follow after acute TBI including the changes in the brain microenvironment and the role of trophic factor dynamics with regard to the effects on endogenous neurogenesis and gliagenesis. The authors also discuss strategies to clinically harness the factors influencing these processes and repair strategies using exogenous neural progenitor cell transplantation. Each strategy is discussed with an emphasis on highlighting the progress and limiting factors relevant to the development of clinical trials of cellular replacement therapy for severe TBI in humans.

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William C. Broaddus, Yue Liu, Laura L. Steele, George T. Gillies, Peck-Sun Lin, William G. Loudon, Kristoffer Valerie, Rupert K. Schmidt-Ullrich and Helen L. Fillmore

Object. The goal of this study was to determine whether adenoviral vector—mediated expression of human wildtype p53 can enhance the radiosensitivity of malignant glioma cells that express native wild-type p53.

The p53 gene is thought to function abnormally in the majority of malignant gliomas, although it has been demonstrated to be mutated in only approximately 30%. This has led to studies in which adenoviral transduction with wild-type human p53 has been investigated in an attempt to slow tumor cell growth. Recent studies suggest that reconstitution of wild-type p53 can render cells more susceptible to radiation-mediated death, primarily by p53-mediated apoptosis.

Methods. Rat RT2 glioma cells were analyzed for native p53 status by reverse transcriptase—polymerase chain reaction and sequence analysis and for p53 expression by Western blot analysis. Clonogenic survival and the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase—mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling assay were used to characterize RT2 cell radiosensitivity and apoptosis, respectively, with and without prior transduction with p53-containing and control adenoviral vectors. Animal survival length was monitored after intracerebral implantation with transduced and nontransduced RT2 cells, with and without cranial radiation.

The RT2 cells were demonstrated to express native rat wild-type p53 and to markedly overexpress human p53 following adenoviral p53 transduction. The combination of p53 transduction followed by radiation resulted in marked decreases in RT2 cell survival and increases in apoptosis at radiation doses from 2 to 6 Gy. Animals receiving cranial radiation after intracerebral implantation with RT2 cells previously transduced with p53 survived significantly longer than control animals (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. The ability to enhance the radiosensitivity of malignant glioma cells that express wild-type p53 by using adenoviral transduction to induce overexpression of p53 offers hope for this approach as a therapeutic strategy, not only in human gliomas that express mutant p53, but also in those that express wild-type p53.

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Aaron J. Clark, Joy L. Ware, Mike Y. Chen, Martin R. Graf, Timothy E. Van Meter, Wagner G. Dos Santos, Helen L. Fillmore and William C. Broaddus

Object

Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) is overexpressed in many human cancers, including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In another study, the authors showed that transient WT1 silencing increases the radiosensitivity of glioma cells. Studies of nonglioma cell lines have demonstrated that WT1 promotes cell proliferation and survival; however, this ability has not been rigorously analyzed in human GBM.

Methods

The authors tested the efficacy of 2 sequences of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) directed against WT1 in U251MG human GBM cells and found that 1 sequence was capable of stably silencing WT1 expression. They then evaluated the effect of WT1 silencing on cellular proliferation, invasion, and in vivo tumor formation.

Results

Stable WT1-shRNA expression significantly decreased the proliferation of U251MG cells in vitro as demonstrated by both an adenosine 5′-triphosphate–based viability assay and tritiated thymidine uptake. Furthermore, stable WT1 silencing caused significantly slower growth after the subcutaneous inoculation of tumor cells in the flanks of athymic nude mice and was associated with an increased latency period.

Conclusions

Data in this study provide proof of the principle that downregulation of WT1 causes decreased tumorigenicity of a GBM cell line in vitro and in vivo and suggest that WT1 is a promising target for novel molecular GBM therapies, perhaps in combination with standard treatment modalities.