Real-Time Monitoring of Human Glioma Cell Migration on Dorsal Root Ganglion Axon-Oligodendrocyte Co-Cultures

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive human cancers due to extensive cellular heterogeneity and the migration properties of hGCs. In order to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying glioma cell migration, an ability to study the interaction between hGCs and axons within the tumor microenvironment is essential. In order to model this cellular interaction, we developed a mixed culture system consisting of hGCs and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) axon-oligodendrocyte co-cultures. DRG cultures were selected because they can be isolated efficiently and can form the long, extensive projections which are ideal for migration studies of this nature. Purified rat oligodendrocytes were then added on purified rat DRG axons and induced to myelinate. After confirming the formation of compact myelin, hGCs were finally added to the co-culture and their interactions with DRG axons and oligodendrocytes was monitored in real-time using time-lapse microscopy. Under these conditions, hGCs form tumor-like aggregate structures that express GFAP and Ki67, migrate along both myelinated and non-myelinated axonal tracks and interact with these axons through the formation of pseudopodia.  Our ex vivo co-culture system can be used to identify novel cellular and molecular mechanisms of hGC migration and could potentially be used for in vitro drug efficacy testing.