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A comparative study of ectonucleotidase and P2 receptor mRNA profiles in C6 cell line cultures and C6 ex vivo glioma model

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Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common type of primary brain tumour and has the worst clinical outcome. Nucleotides represent an important class of extracellular molecules involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Alterations in purinergic signalling have been implicated in pathological processes, such as cancer, and glioma cell lines are widely employed as a model to study the biology of brain tumours. Increasing evidence, however, suggests that glioma cell lines may not present all the phenotypic and genetic characteristics of the primary tumours. We have compared the biological characteristics of C6 rat glioma cells in culture and the same cells after their implantation in the rat brain and growth in culture (denominated as the C6 ex vivo culture model). Parameters evaluated included cell morphology, differentiation, angiogenic markers, purinergic receptors and ecto-nucleotidase mRNA profile/enzymatic activity. Analysis of the C6 glioma cell line and C6 ex vivo glioma cultures revealed distinct cell morphologies, although cell differentiation and angiogenic marker expressions were similar. Both glioma models co-expressed multiple P2X and P2Y receptor subtypes with some differences. In addition, the C6 glioma cell line and C6 ex vivo glioma cultures exhibited similar extracellular ATP metabolism and cell proliferation behaviour when exposed to cytotoxic ATP concentrations. Thus, the disruption of purinergic signalling is a feature shown not only by glioma cell lineages, but also by primary glioma cultures. Our results therefore suggest the participation of the purinergic system in glioma malignancy.

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We are grateful to N. Copetti, J.A. Lopes and L.R. Blazina for their excellent technical assistance and to F. Bahrami for comments on and corrections to the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ana Maria Oliveira Battastini.

Additional information

This study was supported by grants from the Brazilian agencies CNPq, FAPERGS and Fundo de Incentivo à Pesquisa e Eventos (HCPA). E. Braganhol and D. Huppes were recipients of Brazilian CNPq fellowships; A. Bernardi was the recipient of a CAPES fellowship.

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Braganhol, E., Huppes, D., Bernardi, A. et al. A comparative study of ectonucleotidase and P2 receptor mRNA profiles in C6 cell line cultures and C6 ex vivo glioma model. Cell Tissue Res 335, 331–340 (2009).

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  • C6 glioma
  • ATP
  • Purinergic receptors
  • Ectonucleotidases
  • Cell line culture (Rat)
  • Glioma ex vivo culture (Rat)