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Int J Cancer. 2011 Mar 15;128(6):1316-26. doi: 10.1002/ijc.25466.

CHI3L1 (YKL-40) is expressed in human gliomas and regulates the invasion, growth and survival of glioma cells.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Institute of Health Science, School of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, South Korea.


Chitinase 3-like 1 (CHI3L1) is a secreted glycoprotein that has pleiotropic activity in aggressive cancers. In our study, we examined the expression and function of CHI3L1 in glioma cells. CHI3L1 was highly expressed in human glioma tissue, whereas its expression in normal brain tissue was very low. CHI3L1 suppression by shRNA reduced glioma cell invasion, anchorage-independent growth and increased cell death triggered by several anticancer drugs, including cisplatin, etoposide and doxorubicin, whereas CHI3L1 overexpression had the opposite effect in glioma cells. Because the invasive nature of glioma cells plays a critical role in the high morbidity of glioma, we have further defined the role of CHI3L1 in the process of glioma invasion. Downregulation of CHI3L1 results in decreased cell-matrix adhesion and causes a marked increase in stress fiber formation and cell size with fewer cellular processes. Furthermore, the expression and activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2 was also decreased in glioma cells in which CHI3L1 was knocked down. Taken together, these results suggest that CHI3L1 plays an important role in the regulation of malignant transformation and local invasiveness in gliomas. Thus, targeting the CHI3L1 molecule may be a potential therapeutic molecular target for gliomas.

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