The current management of primary CNS tumors involves a multimodal approach, incorporating cytoreductive techniques including resection, radiotherapy, and antiproliferative chemotherapeutic agents. Despite these attempts, the majority of patients with a diagnosis of a high-grade glioma have a dismal prognosis, with the leading cause of treatment failure and tumor recurrence attributable to local invasion of adjacent brain parenchyma. The current study examines the capacity of glioma tumor cells to undergo neurite outgrowth and local migration, specifically focusing on the role of the cadherin cell adhesion system.
Using a recombinant cadherin ectodomain protein, U373MG human glioblastoma cells were assessed for their ability to adhere and migrate in a cadherin-dependent manner in culture. Adhesion was evaluated via growth assessment and neurite length at 72 hours growth on an immobilized cadherin substrate and compared with other matrix adhesion proteins, such as Type IV collagen and vitronectin. Migratory capacity was measured via modified transwell assays, also using recombinant cadherin ectodomain in comparison with collagen and vitronectin.
Cadherin adherent cells adopt a fasciculated morphology, with a significant increase in neurite extension, measuring 104 ± 13.3 μm in length, compared with background adhesion on bovine serum albumin and nonfunctional cadherin ectodomain controls measuring 55 ± 4.4 and 47 ± 3.84 μm, respectively (p = 0.029). Significant increases in neurite length compared with controls were also observed in the vitronectin (81 ± 4.69 μm) and Type IV collagen (91 ± 7.7 μm) groups (p = 0.017 and 0.025, respectively). With respect to migration, U373 cells demonstrate increased invasion in response to cadherin ectodomain exposure, whereas vitronectin and Type IV collagen were not potent initiators of migration through the transwell barrier. Both adhesion and migration outcomes were noted in the absence of any relative changes in cell proliferation, indicating a primary role for the cadherin-based adhesion system in tumor invasion.
Cadherin-based adhesion promotes increased adhesion, neurite outgrowth, and migration in human U373MG glioblastoma cells, providing a novel area of research for the development of therapeutic targets addressing local tumor invasion.
Abbreviations used in this paper: BSA = bovine serum albumin; DMEM = Dulbecco modified eagle medium; PBS = phosphate-buffered saline.
Address correspondence to: Christopher P. Cifarelli, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, P.O Box 800212, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908-0212. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include this information when citing this paper: published online April 23, 2010; DOI: 10.3171/2010.3.JNS091451.
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