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Transl Oncol. 2009 Aug 18;2(3):117-20.

Expression of Zonulin, c-kit, and Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein in Human Gliomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital, Liebigstr. 20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.


The hallmarks of human malignant gliomas are their marked invasiveness and vascularity. Because angiogenesis and tumor invasion have been associated with extracellular matrix degradation and intercellular tight junctions, the involvement of zonulin in glioma biology is in the focus. We selected for histological examination five cases of glioblastoma WHO IV (nomenclature of the World Health Organization) and one case each from astrocytoma WHO III, meningioma WHO III, and meningioma WHO I as control samples. The meningioma WHO I is regarded as benign, whereas the meningioma WHO III is recognized as the transition form of malignant tumors in humans. The visualization of a newly designed antibody against human zonulin was studied in triple-labeling studies using fluorescence immunocytochemistry and compared with the expression of c-kit and glial fibrillary acidic protein in differently developed human gliomas. We found that increasing the expression of c-kit is accompanied by an increase of zonulin expression. Both are correlated to the degree of malignancy of human brain tumors. The expression of zonulin is correlated to the degradation of the blood-brain barrier as revealed by Griffonia simplicifolia lectin. In differently graded tumors, we found differently graded involvement of blood vessels in the tumor development, explaining patients' survival.

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