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Ciba Found Symp. 1991;157:232-8; discussion 238-41.

Expression of TGF-beta 2 in human glioblastoma: a role in resistance to immune rejection?

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Glioblastomas are among the most malignant tumours for which no curative treatment exists. A dysfunction of cellular immunity with decreased skin reactivity and lymphocyte blastogenesis has been described in patients with glioblastomas. In culture human glioblastoma cells release a factor termed glioblastoma-derived T cell suppressor factor (G-TsF) which inhibits the antigen-dependent growth of both helper and cytotoxic T cells. Purification and cloning indicated that G-TsF is a novel member of the TGF-beta family with a well-conserved mature sequence but less homology in the precursor segments. The factor was renamed TGF-beta 2. The two glioblastoma cell lines investigated expressed mRNAs for both G-TsF/TGF-beta 2 and TGF-beta 1 but only G-TsF/TGF-beta 2 protein was secreted. Neuroblastoma cells express only the mRNA for TGF-beta 1 but not the protein, nor the mRNA for G-TsF/TGF-beta 2. Recombinant G-TsF/TGF-beta 2 inhibits the generation of virus-specific cytotoxic T cells when injected into mice infected with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. Thus G-TsF/TGF-beta 2 might contribute to the impairment of tumour immune surveillance. Some T cell clones may escape the immunosuppressive effects of TGF-beta: ovalbumin-specific T helper cell lines that showed different degrees of susceptibility to TGF-beta contained clones which had lost receptor(s) for TGF-beta.

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