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Decrease in Specific Gene ‘Silencing’ Molecules Linked With Pediatric Brain Tumors

November 13, 2018 -

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have found that a shortage of specific tiny molecules that silence certain genes are linked to the development and growth of pediatric brain tumors known as low-grade gliomas.

Members of the miR-125 family are strongly expressed in several tissues, particularly brain, but may be dysregulated in cancer including adult and pediatric glioma. In this study, miR-125 members were downregulated in pilocytic astrocytoma (PA) as a group compared to non-neoplastic brain in the Agilent platform.

In the Nanostring platform, miR-125 members were downregulated primarily in pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas and gangliogliomas. Using CISH for miR-125b, highest levels of expression were present in grade II tumors (11/33, 33% grade II tumors with 3+ expression compared to 3/70, 4% grade I tumors) (p < 0.001).

When focusing on the two histologic subgroups with the largest number of samples, PA and diffuse astrocytoma (DA), the highest expression levels were present in DA, in comparison with the PA group (p = 0.01). Overexpression of miR-125b in pediatric low grade glioma (PLGG) derived cell lines (Res186, Res259, and BT66) resulted in decreased growth and invasion, as well as apoptosis. Additionally, miR-125b overexpression in BT66 resulted in senescence.

These findings suggest that miR-125 is frequently underexpressed in PLGG, and overexpression results in a decrease in cell growth and induction of apoptosis, findings that deserve further investigation given its potential as a novel therapeutic strategy for PLGG.

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