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Frontiers in pharmacology

Desert Hedgehog/Patch2 Axis Contributes to Vascular Permeability and Angiogenesis in Glioblastoma.


PMID 26635611

Abstract

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) constitutes the most common and the most aggressive type of human tumors affecting the central nervous system. Prognosis remains dark due to the inefficiency of current treatments and the rapid relapse. Paralleling other human tumors, GBM contains a fraction of tumor initiating cells with the capacity to self-renew, initiate and maintain the tumor mass. These cells were found in close proximity to brain vasculature, suggesting functional interactions between brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) and endothelial cells within the so-called vascular niche. However, the mechanisms by which these cells impact on the endothelium plasticity and function remain unclear. Using culture of BTICs isolated from a cohort of 14 GBM patients, we show that BTICs secretome promotes brain endothelial cell remodeling in a VEGF-independent manner. Gene array analysis unmasked that BTICs-released factors drove the expression of Ptch2 in endothelial cells. Interestingly, BTICs produce desert hedgehog (DHH) ligand, enabling a paracrine DHH/Ptch2 signaling cascade that conveys elevated permeability and angiogenesis. Finally, DHH silencing in BTICs dramatically reduced tumor growth, as well as vascularization and intra-tumor permeability. Collectively, our data unveil a role for DHH in exacerbated tumor angiogenesis and permeability, which may ultimately favor glioblastoma growth, and thus place the DHH/Ptch2 nexus as a molecular target for novel therapies.