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Front Physiol. 2013 Nov 1;4:316. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00316.

Involvement of tumor acidification in brain cancer pathophysiology.

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Department of Neurobiology and Center for Glial Biology in Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL, USA.


Gliomas, primary brain cancers, are characterized by remarkable invasiveness and fast growth. While they share many qualities with other solid tumors, gliomas have developed special mechanisms to convert the cramped brain space and other limitations afforded by the privileged central nervous system into pathophysiological advantages. In this review we discuss gliomas and other primary brain cancers in the context of acid-base regulation and interstitial acidification; namely, how the altered proton (H(+)) content surrounding these brain tumors influences tumor development in both autocrine and paracrine manners. As proton movement is directly coupled to movement of other ions, pH serves as both a regulator of cell activity as well as an indirect readout of other cellular functions. In the case of brain tumors, these processes result in pathophysiology unique to the central nervous system. We will highlight what is known about pH-sensitive processes in brain tumors in addition to gleaning insight from other solid tumors.


NHE; acidification; brain cancer; glioma; pH; solid tumor

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