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Eur J Histochem. 2012 Feb 27;56(1):e9. doi: 10.4081/ejh.2012.e9.

PARP-1 protein expression in glioblastoma multiforme.

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  • 1Unit of Pathology, Cannizzaro Hospital, Catania, Italy.


One of the most common type of primary brain tumors in adults is the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) (World Health Organization grade IV astrocytoma). It is the most common malignant and aggressive form of glioma and it is among the most lethal ones. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) gene, located to 1q42, plays an important role for the efficient maintenance of genome integrity. PARP-1 protein is required for the apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) translocation from the mitochondria to the nucleus. PARP-1 is proteolytically cleaved at the onset of apoptosis by caspase-3. Microarray analysis of PARP-1 gene expression in more than 8,000 samples revealed that PARP-1 is more highly expressed in several types of cancer compared with the equivalent normal tissues. Overall, the most differences in PARP-1 gene expression have been observed in breast, ovarian, endometrial, lung, and skin cancers, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. We evaluated the expression of PARP-1 protein in normal brain tissues and primary GBM by immunohistochemistry. Positive nuclear PARP-1 staining was found in all samples with GBM, but not in normal neurons from controls (n=4) and GBM patients (n=27). No cytoplasmic staining was observed in any sample. In conclusion, PARP-1 gene is expressed in GBM. This finding may be envisioned as an attempt to trigger apoptosis in this tumor, as well as in many other malignancies. The presence of the protein exclusively at the nucleus further support the function played by this gene in genome integrity maintenance and apoptosis. Finally, PARP-1 staining may be used as GBM cell marker.

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