PURPOSE:Gangliogliomas (GGs) are neuronal-glial tumors highly associated with epilepsy. We hypothesized that the expression of select gene families including neurotransmitter receptor subunits and growth factors would be distinct in neurons and astrocytes within GG compared with adjacent cortex and that these changes would yield insights into seizure onset and lesion formation.
METHODS:Candidate gene expression was defined in single immunohistochemically labeled neurons and astrocytes microdissected from GG specimens compared with neurons and astrocytes microdissected from morphologically intact cortex adjacent to the GG or normal control cortex.
RESULTS:Differential expression of 16 genes including glutamate transporter (EAAC1) and receptor (NMDA2C, mGluR5), growth factor (hepatocyte growth factor), and receptor (platelet derived growth factor receptor beta, fibroblast growth factor receptor 3) mRNAs was detected in GG neurons compared with control neurons. In astrocytes, altered expression of p75NGF, mGluR3, TGFbeta3 and Glt-1 mRNAs was detected. Nestin mRNA, a gene that exhibits enhanced expression in balloon cell cortical dysplasia, was increased in GG neurons. Because of the morphological similarities between GG and cortical dysplasia, we show that there is activation of the mTOR cascade in GG as evidenced by enhanced expression of phospho-p70S6kinase and phosphoribosomal S6 proteins.
CONCLUSION:We find differential candidate gene expression in neurons and astrocytes in GG compared with adjacent cortex and show that there is activation of the mTOR pathway. These changes highlight pathways that may be pivotal for epileptogenesis and lesion growth.
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