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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (10)

Articles by Branavan Manoranjan in JoVE

 JoVE Clinical and Translational Medicine

Processing of Primary Brain Tumor Tissue for Stem Cell Assays and Flow Sorting

1Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, McMaster University


JoVE 4111

The identification of brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs), the rare cells within a heterogeneous tumor possessing stem cell properties, provides new insights into human brain tumor pathogenesis. We have refined specific culture conditions to enrich for BTICs, and we routinely use flow cytometry to further enrich these populations. Self-renewal assays and transcript analysis by single cell RT-PCR can subsequently be performed on these isolated cells.

Other articles by Branavan Manoranjan on PubMed

Spinal Cord Injuries Due to Diving: a Framework and Call for Prevention

Low Immunohistochemical Expression of MGMT in ACTH Secreting Pituitary Tumors of Patients with Nelson Syndrome

MGMT expression in tumors has been correlated with response to treatment with temozolomide therapy. Few medical therapies are available for Nelson syndrome, and the efficacy of such therapeutics remains limited. The aim of the present study was to assess immunohistochemical expression of MGMT in ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas of patients with Nelson syndrome. Our material consisted of eight specimens from ACTH-secreting pituitary adenomas of patients with Nelson syndrome. Immunohistochemical staining for MGMT was performed using the streptavidin-biotin-peroxidase complex method. MGMT immunoreactivity was assessed microscopically and recorded as an estimated percentage of nuclear MGMT immunostaining (0 = none, 1=<10%, 2=<25%, 3=<50%, 4=>50%). Five of the eight specimens (65%) exhibited no MGMT immunoreactivity, with two out of eight cases (25%) showing slight MGMT staining (<10%) and one out of eight cases (12%) demonstrating moderate MGMT positivity (<25%). Patient male/female ratio was 3:5, with average patient age being 62.4 (range 57–66). Our findings suggest that temozolomide therapy may be of potential use in patients with Nelson syndrome, as these tumors express absent/low levels of MGMT. Absent or low MGMT staining in brain and other neoplasms has been shown to correlate with successful treatment with temozolomide, and recent reports of aggressive pituitary adenomas suggest similar outcomes.

Hemimegalencephaly: a Fetal Case with Neuropathological Confirmation and Review of the Literature

Hemimegalencephaly (HME) is a developmental abnormality of the central nervous system, identified by an abnormal increase in the size of one cerebral hemisphere. HME may present as either a syndromic or isolated case. To date the literature on HME has focused primarily on non-fetal pediatric patients, largely related to surgical resection specimens of the HME hemisphere. We present the case of a male fetus at 22 weeks gestation with intracranial abnormalities identified on a follow-up ultrasound. Gross examination of the fetal brain confirmed the increased size of the right cerebral hemisphere. The ipsilateral brain stem and cerebellum were not involved. Light microscopy demonstrated the presence of accelerated cortical differentiation along with several migrational anomalies in the HME hemisphere. Based on the gross and microscopic findings, a diagnosis of fetal hemimegalencephaly was made. The periventricular proliferative zone of the abnormal hemisphere contained a normal population of neuroepithelial precursor cells. An exhaustive immunohistochemical study found immunoreactivity for calretinin and synaptophysin, while the Ki-67 proliferation labeling was not increased in the HME hemisphere. Our case is the first autopsied report on fetal hemimegalencephaly and confirms that the key pathogenic changes may present as early as 20-22 weeks gestation. The major pathological features of our case are in keeping with a disturbance in accelerated neuronal differentiation and migrational abnormalities.

Undifferentiated Sarcoma of the Sellar Region

Malignancies lacking specific features of cellular maturation are termed "undifferentiated" and represent 5-10% of all human tumors. They are encountered at a variety of sites but do not, as a rule, arise in the sellar region. A 39-year-old male with a history of testicular seminoma and an unsuccessful biopsy of a third ventricular neoplasm, presented with visual disturbances and memory loss. Light microscopically, the tumor consisted entirely of undifferentiated spindle cells. No germ cell component was noted. An exhaustive immunohistochemical study found immunoreactivity for vimentin and desmin, but for no other myoid markers. Polymerase chain reaction showed no X;18 translocation. Based upon these studies, a diagnosis of "undifferentiated sarcoma" was made. Our case, being highly unusual among reported sellar neoplasms, underscores the difficulties inherent in the differential diagnosis of undifferentiated neoplasms.

Congenital Brain Tumors: Diagnostic Pitfalls and Therapeutic Interventions

Congenital brain tumors are rare, accounting for 0.5% to 4% of all pediatric brain tumors. A 10-year retrospective study based on autopsy and neurosurgical clinical reports with a diagnosis of congenital/fetal/neonatal brain tumor identified 6 cases. Four cases were diagnosed antenatally by neuroradiology. Clinical outcomes in 5 cases resulted in death; 1 patient with choroid plexus papilloma underwent successful resection of the tumor and is still alive. Tumor pathologies consisted of 2 teratomas, 2 choroid plexus papillomas, 1 gemistocytic astrocytoma, and 1 glioblastoma multiforme. A literature review of all fetal cases specific to the pathologies presented in this series was also performed. Relative to the literature, this series contains a rare case of congenital gemistocytic astrocytoma. This series further sheds light on the diagnostic, histological, prognostic, and therapeutic differences between congenital brain tumors and tumors of the same pathology in older pediatric and adult populations.

Medulloblastoma Stem Cells: Modeling Tumor Heterogeneity

Brain tumors represent the leading cause of childhood cancer mortality, with medulloblastoma (MB) being the most frequent malignant tumor. In this review we discuss the morphological and molecular heterogeneity of this malignant childhood brain tumor and how this key feature has implicated the presence of a MB stem cell. We focus on evidence from cerebellar development, histopathological and molecular subtypes of MB, the recent identification of brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs, also referred to as MB stem cells), and the current limitations in studying the interplay between MB stem cells and tumor heterogeneity.

GBM Secretome Induces Transient Transformation of Human Neural Precursor Cells

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive primary brain tumor in humans, with a uniformly poor prognosis. The tumor microenvironment is composed of both supportive cellular substrates and exogenous factors. We hypothesize that exogenous factors secreted by brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs) could predispose normal neural precursor cells (NPCs) to transformation. When NPCs are grown in GBM-conditioned media, and designated as "tumor-conditioned NPCs" (tcNPCs), they become highly proliferative and exhibit increased stem cell self-renewal, or the unique ability of stem cells to asymmetrically generate another stem cell and a daughter cell. tcNPCs also show an increased transcript level of stem cell markers such as CD133 and ALDH and growth factor receptors such as VEGFR1, VEGFR2, EGFR and PDGFRα. Media analysis by ELISA of GBM-conditioned media reveals an elevated secretion of growth factors such as EGF, VEGF and PDGF-AA when compared to normal neural stem cell-conditioned media. We also demonstrate that tcNPCs require prolonged or continuous exposure to the GBM secretome in vitro to retain GBM BTIC characteristics. Our in vivo studies reveal that tcNPCs are unable to form tumors, confirming that irreversible transformation events may require sustained or prolonged presence of the GBM secretome. Analysis of GBM-conditioned media by mass spectrometry reveals the presence of secreted proteins Chitinase-3-like 1 (CHI3L1) and H2A histone family member H2AX. Collectively, our data suggest that GBM-secreted factors are capable of transiently altering normal NPCs, although for retention of the transformed phenotype, sustained or prolonged secretome exposure or additional transformation events are likely necessary.

Medulloblastoma Stem Cells: Where Development and Cancer Cross Pathways

Brain tumors are the leading cause of childhood cancer mortality, with medulloblastoma (MB) representing the most frequent malignant tumor. The recent molecular classification of MB has reconceptualized the heterogeneity that exists within pathological subtypes by giving context to the role of key developmental signaling pathways in MB pathogenesis. The identification of cancer stem cell (CSC) populations, termed brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs), in MB has provided novel cellular targets for the study of these aberrantly activated signaling pathways, namely, Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and Wingless (Wnt), along with the identification of novel BTIC self-renewal pathways. In this review, we discuss recent evidence for the presence of a MB stem cell that drives tumorigenesis in this malignant childhood tumor. We focus on evidence from cerebellar development, the recent identification of BTICs, the presence of activated developmental signaling pathways in MB, the role of epigenetic stem cell regulatory mechanisms, and how these developmental and epigenetic pathways may be targeted for novel therapeutic options.

Bmi1 Marks Intermediate Precursors During Differentiation of Human Brain Tumor Initiating Cells

The master regulatory gene Bmi1 modulates key stem cell properties in neural precursor cells (NPCs), and has been implicated in brain tumorigenesis. We previously identified a population of CD133+ brain tumor cells possessing stem cell properties, known as brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs). Here, we characterize the expression and role of Bmi1 in primary minimally cultured human glioblastoma (GBM) patient isolates in CD133+ and CD133- sorted populations. We find that Bmi1 expression is increased in CD133- cells, and Bmi1 protein and transcript expression are highest during intermediate stages of differentiation as CD133+ BTICs lose their CD133 expression. Furthermore, in vitro stem cell assays and Bmi1 knockdown show that Bmi1 contributes to self-renewal in CD133+ populations, but regulates proliferation and cell fate determination in CD133- populations. Finally, we test if our in vitro stem cell assays and Bmi1 expression in BTIC patient isolates are predictive of clinical outcome for GBM patients. Bmi1 expression profiles show a marked elevation in the proneural GBM subtype, and stem cell frequency as assessed by tumor sphere assays correlates with patient outcome.

O-6-methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase (MGMT) Immunohistochemical Expression in Pituitary Corticotroph Adenomas

O-6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is a DNA repair enzyme that counteracts chemotherapeutic cytotoxicity of alkylating agents such as temozolomide. Low levels of MGMT expression have been shown to correlate with longer survival in glioma patients treated with temozolomide. The same is true in pituitary adenomas.

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