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J Neurooncol. 2000 Jun;48(2):103-11.

Expression of a restrictive receptor for interleukin 13 is associated with glial transformation.

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Department of Surgery, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey 17033-0850, USA.


We have previously documented that the vast majority of high-grade gliomas over-express binding sites for interleukin 13 (IL13) in situ. We now extend this analysis to evaluate the distribution of the binding of IL13 among other brain tumors. Tumor specimens from patients with low-grade gliomas, oligodendrogliomas, ependymomas, pilocytic astrocytomas, gliosarcomas, medulloblastomas, meningiomas, and metastases to the brain were analyzed and compared to a new series of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) samples. Serial tumor tissue sections were incubated with 125I-labeled (i) IL13, (ii) antibody against transferrin (Tf) receptor, and (iii) epidermal growth factor (EGF). Most (17/18) GBMs stained specifically for IL13 binding sites while sections from 3/11 low-grade gliomas, 5/5 high-grade gliomas (grade III), 3/5 oligodendrogliomas (all three were anaplastic), and 1/2 gliosarcomas also showed specific binding for IL13. We did not detect IL13 binding sites in medulloblastomas (0/4) and found them only in 2/20 meningiomas. Metastases to the brain (4/12, i.e., lung adenocarcinomas and renal cell carcinoma) showed some binding of 125I-IL13. The presence of receptors for Tf was ubiquitous among all studied tumors while EGF receptor expression was much more variable. Since it appears that primarily the least differentiated forms of gliomas possess IL13 binding sites in abundance, it is plausible that IL 13 receptor expressed in low-grade gliomas might be a prognostically significant marker associated with their progression to high-grade gliomas. Finally, we demonstrate that the glioma-associated IL13 receptor is truly more restrictive in nature also due to its selective representation among brain tumors of glial origin.

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