ABSTRACT: Brain fatty acid-binding protein (B-FABP) is normally expressed in radial glial cells, where it plays a role in the establishment of the radial glial fiber network required for neuronal migration. B-FABP is also expressed in astrocytoma tumors and in some malignant glioma cell lines. To address the role of B-FABP in malignant glioma, we have studied the growth properties of clonal populations of malignant glioma cells modified for B-FABP expression. Here, we demonstrate that expression of B-FABP in B-FABP-negative malignant glioma cells is accompanied by the appearance of radial glial-like properties, such as increased migration and extended bipolar cell processes, as well as reduced transformation. Conversely, B-FABP depletion in B-FABP-positive malignant glioma cells results in decreased migration, reduction in cell processes, and a more transformed phenotype. Moreover, expression of B-FABP in astrocytomas is associated with regions of tumor infiltration and recurrence. Rather than being a direct manifestation of the tumorigenic process, we propose that the ability of high-grade astrocytoma cells to migrate long distances from the primary tumor reflects properties associated with their cell of origin. Thus, targeting B-FABP-expressing cells may make a significant impact on the treatment of these tumors.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 10/2007; 9(9):734-44. · 5.48 Impact Factor