Glioblastoma (GBM) is considered incurable due to its resistance to current cancer treatments. So far, all clinically available alternatives for treating GBM are limited, evoking the development of novel treatment strategies that can more effectively manage these tumors. Extensive effort is being dedicated to characterize the molecular basis of GBM resistance to chemotherapy and to explore novel therapeutic procedures that may improve overall survival. Cytolysins are toxins that form pores in target cell membranes, modifying ion homeostasis and leading to cell death. These pore-forming toxins might be used, therefore, to enhance the efficiency of conventional chemotherapeutic drugs, facilitating their entrance into the cell. In this study, we show that a non-cytotoxic concentration of equinatoxin II (EqTx-II), a pore-forming toxin from the sea anemone Actinia equina, potentiates the cytotoxicity induced by temozolomide (TMZ), a first-line GBM treatment, and to etoposide (VP-16), a second- or third-line GBM treatment. We also suggest that this effect is selective to GBM cells and occurs via PI3K/Akt pathway inhibition. Finally, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed that a non-cytotoxic concentration of EqTx-II potentiates the VP-16-induced inhibition of GBM growth in vivo. These combination therapies constitute a new and potentially valuable tool for GBM treatment, leading to the requirement of lower concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs and possibly reducing, therefore, the adverse effects of chemotherapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The toxicity of Cnidaria is a subject of concern for its influence on human activities and public health. During the last decades, the mechanisms of cell injury caused by cnidarian venoms have been studied utilizing extracts from several Cnidaria that have been tested in order to evaluate some fundamental parameters, such as the activity on cell survival, functioning and metabolism, and to improve the knowledge about the mechanisms of action of these compounds. In agreement with the modern tendency aimed to avoid the utilization of living animals in the experiments and to substitute them with in vitro systems, established cell lines or primary cultures have been employed to test cnidarian extracts or derivatives. Several cnidarian venoms have been found to have cytotoxic properties and have been also shown to cause hemolytic effects. Some studied substances have been shown to affect tumour cells and microorganisms, so making cnidarian extracts particularly interesting for their possible therapeutic employment. The review aims to emphasize the up-to-date knowledge about this subject taking in consideration the importance of such venoms in human pathology, the health implications and the possible therapeutic application of these natural compounds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Among the cells that constitute the central nervous system (CNS), astrocytes are the most abundant cells in the brain. They originate from the neural tube, differently from other glial cells of the astrocyte-like, enteric glia, which originate from the neural crest. Cerebral astrocytes interact with other brain cells such as neurons, mediated by cellular contact involving extracellular matrix (ECM) elements and the integrin of astrocytes. Interactions can also occur through exchange of soluble molecules, cytokines, and growth factors, delivered by astrocytes and the interacting cells. Of the growth factors secreted by astrocytes, members of the transforming growth factor (TGF) beta family, especially TGF-β1, are highly important. TGF-β1 acts in brain development, in adult brain homeostasis, and also in orchestrating the brain’s response to injury and/or aging. These cell–cell interactions depend on the cellular membrane plasticity expressed by biophysical forces of interaction. In parallel to the properties of normal astrocytes, a growing astrocytoma develops new malignant behavior and interactions with parenchyma that differ from those of normal astrocytes. In this chapter, we analyze important points that characterize tumor progression and discuss new therapeutic approaches to treat these tumors.
Glioma Cell Biology, Edited by Sedo, Aleksi, Mentlein, Rolf, 10/2014: chapter Glioblastomas and the Special Role of Adhesion Molecules in Their Invasion: pages 293-315; Springer., ISBN: 9783709114308
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumor microenvironment has a dynamic and usually cancer-promoting function during all tumorigenic steps. Glioblastoma (GBM) is a fatal tumor of the central nervous system, in which a substantial number of non-tumoral infiltrated cells can be found. Astrocytes neighboring these tumor cells have a particular reactive phenotype and can enhance GBM malignancy by inducing aberrant cell proliferation and invasion. The tumor suppressor p53 has a potential non-cell autonomous function by modulating the expression of secreted proteins that influence neighbor cells. In this work, we investigated the role of p53 on the crosstalk between GBM cells and astrocytes. We show that extracellular matrix (ECM) from p53(+/-) astrocytes is richer in laminin and fibronectin, compared with ECM from p53(+/+) astrocytes. In addition, ECM from p53(+/-) astrocytes increases the survival and the expression of mesenchymal markers in GBM cells, which suggests haploinsufficient phenotype of the p53(+/-) microenvironment. Importantly, conditioned medium from GBM cells blocks the expression of p53 in p53(+/+) astrocytes, even when DNA was damaged. These results suggest that GBM cells create a dysfunctional microenvironment based on the impairment of p53 expression that in turns exacerbates tumor endurance.
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