The presence of glioma stromal mesenchymal stem like cells (GS-MSLCs) in tumors from glioma patients has been previously reported. The mechanisms through which these cells function as a part of the glioma microenvironment, however, remain incompletely understood. We investigated the biological effects of GS-MSLCs on glioma cancer stem cells (gCSCs), testing the hypothesis that GS-MSLCs alter the biological characteristics of gCSCs. GS-MSLCs and gCSCs were isolated from different glioblastoma (GBM) specimens obtained from patients. In in vitro experiments, gCSCs were cultured alone or co-cultured with GS-MSLCs, and gCSCs cell counts were compared between the two groups. In addition, two groups of orthotopic GBM xenografts in mice were created, one using gCSCs from the monoculture group and one using gCSCs isolated from the co-culture group, and tumor volume and survival were analyzed. Furthermore, in vivo proliferation, apoptosis and vessel formation were examined using immunohistochemical analyses. In vitro cell counts for gCSCs co-cultured with GS-MSLCs increased 3-fold compared to gCSCs cultured alone. In orthotopic xenograft experiments, mice injected with gCSCs isolated from the co-culture group had significantly larger tumor volume, measured on day 40 after injection, and their survival times were shorter. Immunohistochemical analysis showed increased tumor expression of CD31, indicative of enhanced microvessel formation in mice injected with gCSCs co-cultured with GS-MSLCs compared to mice injected with gCSCs cultured alone. However, proliferation (PCNA) and apoptosis (TUNEL) markers showed no significant difference between the two groups. In conclusion, GS-MSLCs may influence the biological properties of gCSCs, shifting them towards a more aggressive status; moreover, increased angiogenesis may be a critical component of this mechanism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research