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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2002 Jul;61(7):585-96.

Galectin-1 modulates human glioblastoma cell migration into the brain through modifications to the actin cytoskeleton and levels of expression of small GTPases.

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Laboratory Histopathology, Faculty of Medicine, Erasmus University Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


We show that high-grade astrocytic tumors with high levels of galectin-1 expression are associated with dismal prognoses. The immunohistochemical analysis of galectin-1 expression of human U87 and U373 glioblastoma xenografts from the brains of nude mice revealed a higher level of galectin-1 expression in invasive areas rather than non-invasive areas of the xenografts. Nude mice intracranially grafted with U87 or U373 cells constitutively expressing low levels of galectin-1 (by stable transfection of an expression vector containing the antisense mRNA of galectin-1) had longer survival periods than those grafted with U87 or U373 cells expressing normal levels of galectin-1. Galectin-1 added to the culture media markedly and specifically increased cell motility levels in human neoplastic astrocytes. These effects are related to marked modifications in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton and the increase in small GTPase RhoA expression. All the data obtained indicate that galectin-1 enhances the migratory capabilities of tumor astrocytes and, therefore, their biological aggressiveness.

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