Object. Findings in several clinical cases have suggested a correlation between tumor formation and previous injury to the central nervous system (CNS); however, the relationship between trauma and tumorigenesis has not been investigated well experimentally. In this study the authors provide evidence correlating tumorigenesis with trauma in the rat spinal cord.
Methods. A glial cell line, C6R-G/H, which expresses green fluorescent protein (GFP) and hygromycin phosphotransferase (HPT), was implanted into normal and injured rat spinal cords. In all rats in which the cells were implanted into an injured site, locomotor function deteriorated and histological analysis demonstrated glioblastoma multiforme by 6 weeks; tumorigenesis was correlated with a loss of both GFP expression and resistance to hygromycin treatment. In contrast, no evidence of tumor formation was found at 6 weeks in rats in which the cells were implanted into healthy tissue. When C6R-G/H cells were treated with contused spinal cord extract in culture before implantation, they lost GFP expression and hygromycin resistance, and later formed tumors after implantation into normal spinal cord.
Conclusions. The findings of this study indicate that trauma can induce tumorigenesis. Implantation of C6R-G/H cells into traumatized spinal cords resulted in their transformation, which was signaled by loss of GFP expression and hygromycin resistance accompanied by tumor formation. Exposure to extracts derived from injured spinal cord produced similar transformation and gene expression changes, as well as tumor formation after such cells were implanted into normal cords. Care, therefore, should be taken when cells are implanted into an injured CNS because of potential mutagenesis due to trauma-induced factors.