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Desheng Xu, Qiang Jia, Yanhe Li, Chunsheng Kang and Peiyu Pu

Object

The authors sought to study the combined potential of wild-type p53 gene transfer and Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for the treatment of glioblastomas multiforme. Modification of the radiation response in C6 glioma cells in vitro and in vivo by the wild-type p53 gene was investigated.

Methods

Stable expression of wild-type p53 in C6 cells was achieved by transduction of the cells with adenoviral p53. Two days later, some cells were treated with GKS. Forty-eight hours after irradiation, the comparative survival rate was assessed by monotetrazolium (MTT) assays. Treated and control C6 glioma cells (4 × 103 per well) were plated into a 96-well plate in octuplicate and tested every 24 hours. Meanwhile, immunohistopathological examination of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase—mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate (TUNEL) assays were performed. The MTT assays indicated the p53, GKS, and combined treated cells proliferated at a significantly lower rate than those of the control group (p < 0.01, Days 2–6) and the positive fraction of PCNA in p53-treated group and GKS-treated group was 70.18 ± 3.61 and 50.71 ± 2.61, respectively, whereas the percentage in the combined group was 30.68 ± 1.49 (p < 0.01).

Fifty-six male Sprague–Dawley rats were anesthetized and inoculated with 106 cultured C6 glioma cells into the cerebrum. Forty-eight hours after transduction with adenoviral p53, some rats underwent GKS. A margin dose of 15 Gy was delivered to the 50% isodose line. Two days later, six rats in each group were killed. Their brains were removed and paraffin-embedded section were prepared for immunohistopathological examination and TUNEL assays. The remaining rats were observed for the duration of the survival period. The survival curve indicated that a modest but significant enhancement of survival duration was seen in the p53-treated or GKS alone groups, whereas a more marked and highly significant enhancement of survival duration was achieved when these two treatment modalities were combined. When PCNA expression was downregulated, apoptotic cells become obvious after TUNEL staining.

Conclusions

The findings of this study suggest that p53-based gene therapy in combination with GKS may be superior to single-modality treatment of C6 glioma.

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Peiyu Pu, Xuwen Liu, Aixue Liu, Jianling Cui and Yunting Zhang

Object. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of antisense epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) RNA on the growth of rat glioma cells in vitro and in vivo and to determine the feasibility of targeting the EGFR gene for gene therapy in gliomas.

Methods. Antisense EGFR complementary (c)DNA was transfected into C6 glioma cells by using lipofectamine. In vitro studies, Southern and Northern blot analyses, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemical staining were designed to examine the integration and expression of antisense EGFR constructs. The 3′(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and the average number of argyrophilic nuclear organizer regions (Ag-NORs) were used to evaluate cell proliferation, whereas the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase—mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling (TUNEL) method and microscopy were used to observe cell apoptosis. As part of the in vivo studies, parental C6 cells and C6 cells transfected with EGFR antisense cDNA were implanted stereotactically into the right caudate nucleus of Wistar rats (C6-injected animals and transfected C6-injected animals). Rats with well-established cerebral C6 glioma foci were treated intratumorally with either antisense EGFR cDNA or empty-vector DNA by using lipofectamine (treated-C6 and control treated group). The general behavior and survival of the rats, findings on magnetic resonance images of their brains, histopathological changes, proliferation activity, and apoptosis of the cerebral gliomas in each group of rats were examined.

Exogenous antisense EGFR cDNA was integrated into the genome of C6 cells and expressed. In clones with a high expression of the antisense construct, there was a dramatic decrease in endogenous EGFR messenger RNA and protein levels, reduced proliferation activity, and induction of apoptosis in vitro. The mean survival time of rats injected with C6 cells was 17.3 days. The mean survival time of rats injected with C6 cells followed by treatment with empty vector in lipofectamine was 15.4 days. Survival time was significantly prolonged in 100% of the rats injected with antisense-transfected C6 cells and in two thirds of the rats injected with C6 cells followed by antisense EGFR cDNA. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed distinct cerebral tumor foci in C6-injected rats and in control rats of the treated group, but none were found in the rats injected with transfected C6 cells. Furthermore, tumor foci disappeared completely in C6-injected rats treated with antisense EGFR cDNA. The cerebral gliomas of the rats treated by injection of antisense EGFR RNA were characterized by reduced proliferation activity and the induction of apoptosis.

Conclusions. The results of this study indicate that EGFR plays an important role in the genesis of malignant gliomas. It may, therefore, be an effective target of antisense gene therapy in patients with gliomas.

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Qiang Jia, Yanhe Li, Desheng Xu, Zhenjiang Li, Zhiyuan Zhang, Yipei Zhang, Dong Liu, Xiaomin Liu, Peiyu Pu and Chunsheng Kang

Object

The authors sought to evaluate modification of the radiation response of C6 glioma cells in vitro and in vivo by inhibiting the expression of Ku70. To do so they investigated the effect of gene transfer involving a recombinant replication-defective adenovirus containing Ku70 short hairpin RNA (Ad-Ku70shRNA) combined with Gamma Knife treatment (GKT).

Methods

First, Ad-Ku70shRNA was transfected into C6 glioma cells and the expression of Ku70 was measured using Western blot analysis. In vitro, phenotypical changes in C6 cells, including proliferation, cell cycle modification, invasion ability, and apoptosis were evaluated using the MTT (3′(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay, Western blot analysis, and cell flow cytometry. In vivo, parental C6 cells transfected with Ad-Ku70shRNA were implanted stereotactically into the right caudate nucleus in Sprague-Dawley rats. After GKS, apoptosis was analyzed using the TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling) method. The inhibitory effects on growth and invasion that were induced by expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and matrix metalloproteinase–9 were determined using immunohistochemical analyses.

Results

The expression of Ku70 was clearly inhibited in C6 cells after transfection with Ad-Ku70shRNA. In vitro following transfection, the C6 cells showed improved responses to GKT, including suppression of proliferation and invasion as well as an increased apoptosis index. In vivo following transfection of Ad-Ku70shRNA, the therapeutic efficacy of GKT in rats with C6 gliomas was greatly enhanced and survival times in these animals were prolonged.

Conclusions

Our data support the potential for downregulation of Ku70 expression in enhancing the radiosensitivity of gliomas. The findings of our study indicate that targeted gene therapy–mediated inactivation of Ku70 may represent a promising strategy in improving the radioresponsiveness of gliomas to GKT.

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Fengming Lan, Xiao Yue, Lei Han, Xubo Yuan, Zhendong Shi, Kai Huang, Yang Yang, Jian Zou, Junxia Zhang, Tao Jiang, Peiyu Pu and Chunsheng Kang

Object

The goal in this study was to investigate the antitumor effect of aspirin in glioblastoma cells and the molecular mechanism involved in its antineoplastic activities.

Methods

The authors used the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide method, flow cytometry, the annexin V method, and Transwell cell invasion test to detect the proliferation and invasive activity of U87 and A172 glioma cells before and after being treated with aspirin. To determine the effects of aspirin on β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF) transcription activity, reporter constructs containing 3 repeats of the wild-type (TOPflash) or mutant (FOPflash) TCF-binding sites were used. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analyses were used to detect the expression of multiple β-catenin/TCF target genes following aspirin treatment.

Results

The transcriptional activity of the β-catenin/TCF complex was strongly inhibited by aspirin. Increasing the concentration of aspirin resulted in decreased expression of c-myc, cyclin D1, and fra-1 mRNA and protein in U87 and A172 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Aspirin inhibited glioma cell proliferation and invasive ability, and induced apoptotic cell death.

Conclusions

The results suggest that aspirin is a potent antitumor agent, and that it exerts its antineoplastic action by inhibition of the β-catenin/TCF signaling pathway in glioma cells.