Molecular and Cellular Complexity of Glioma Highlights on the Double-Edged-Sword of Infiltration Versus Proliferation and the Involvement of T Cells

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and malignant brain tumor, is characterized by high molecular and cellular heterogeneity within and among tumors. Parameters such as invasive growth, infiltration of immune cells and endothelial proliferation contribute in a systemic manner to maintain the malignancy.Studies in this thesis show that the expression of Sox2 is correlated with Sox21 in human gliomas. We demonstrate that an upregulation of Sox21 induces loss of proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation in glioma cells in vitro and in vivo and seems to correlate with decreased Sox2 expression. Induced expression of Sox21 in vivo significantly reduces the tumor size and increase the survival extensively, suggesting that Sox21 can act as a tumor suppressor Our studies indicate that the balance of Sox21-Sox2 in glioma cells is decisive of either a proliferative or a non-proliferative state.Several TGFß family members have an important role in glioma development. TGFß promotes proliferation and tumorigenicity whereas BMPs mostly inhibit proliferation. We demonstrate that BMP7 can induce the transcription factor Snail in glioma cells and that this reduces the tumorigenicity with a concomitant increase in invasiveness. Thus, we have identified a mechanism to the double-edged sword of proliferation versus invasiveness in GBM, the latter contributing to relapse in patients.Experimental gliomas were induced with the Sleeping Beauty (SB) model in mice with different immunological status of their T cells. The tumors that developed were either GBMs or highly diffuse in their growth, reminiscent of gliomatosis cerebri (GC). GC is a highly uncommon form of glioma characterized by extensive infiltrative growth in large parts of the brain. It is an orphan disease and today there is practically a total lack of relevant experimental models. The SB system would constitute a novel experimental model to study the mechanisms behind the development of diffusely growing tumors like GC. The presence or absence of T cells did not affect tumor development.The work in this thesis demonstrates that the proliferative and the invasive capacities of glioma cells can be dissociated and that the SB model constitutes an excellent model to study the highly proliferative cells in GBMs versus the highly invasive cells in diffuse tumors like .GC.