Neoplastic transformation of newborn rat astrocytes in culture

Joseph P. Bressler, Jean De Vellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A subpopulation of rat glial cells, derived from the astroglial population of newborn cerebral cortex cell cultures, spontaneously transformed in culture. Unlike the pretransformed cells, the transformed cells formed pile-up colonies, exhibited anchorage-independent growth, and were tumorigenic in young rats. Both the pretransformed and transformed cels exhibited differentiated properties characteristic of glial cells. For example, the pretransformed cells possessed hydrocortisone-inducible glutamine synthetase (GS), a property restricted to astrocytes in the central nervous system. As was anticipated, these cells did not exhibit either of two oligodendroglial characteristics, hydrocortisone-inducible glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) or the induction of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) by N6,O6-dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3′:5′ monophosphate Bt2 cAMP). Unexpectedly, the transformed cells expressed the induction of glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase but lost the glutamine synthetase induction. Both the pretransformed and transformed cells were examined ultrasturally. Neither cell type exhibited glial filaments (9-10 nm), a structure typical of astrocytes. Rather, the pretransformed cells were characterized by distinct longitudinal near the cell surface and the absence of microtubules. On the other hand, the only cytoskeletal element visible in transformed cells were microtubules. Our work demonstrates that, like other rodent cells type, rat glial cells can spontaneously transform in culture. It also shows that the expression of differentiated properties are sensitive to the transformation process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 25 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • CNS culture
  • astrocytes
  • glia
  • glutamine synthetase
  • glycerol phosphate dehydrogenase
  • neoplasia
  • transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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