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J Neurosci Res. 2000 Mar 15;59(6):722-30.

Expression of galectin-1 mRNA correlates with the malignant potential of human gliomas and expression of antisense galectin-1 inhibits the growth of 9 glioma cells.

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Department of Biochemical Cell Research, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, Tokyo, Japan.


Although its precise function has not yet been established, galectin-1 seems to play a role in tumor progression. In this study, we investigated galectin-1 mRNA expression in human glioma specimens and glioma cell lines. Northern blot analysis showed higher galectin-1 mRNA levels in glioma tissues. The 0.7-kb galectin-1 mRNA transcript was detected, and the expression level correlated with the malignant state, from low-grade astrocytoma to glioblastoma. In several human glioma specimens, immunohistochemical examination with antiserum against a synthetic peptide corresponding to the predicted C-terminal sequence of the protein showed high levels of galectin-1 expression. To clarify the correlation between the expression of galectin-1 and the malignancy of gliomas, we examined whether expression of antisense galectin-1 would suppress tumor growth in rat 9L cells that express high levels of galectin-1. The cells were transfected with a plasmid DNA that produces antisense galectin-1 mRNA under the control of the metallothionein promoter, and stable clones expressing low levels of galectin-1 protein in comparison with control clones were isolated. Cells with low levels of galectin-1 displayed dramatic phenotypic changes in their morphology and growth properties compared with vector-transfected control 9L cells. Our data suggest that decreased expression of galectin-1 may arrest the growth of rat 9L cells.

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