Evidence indicates that human cancers are maintained by a population of cells with stem-like properties called cancer stem cells (CSCs). However, the influence of the surrounding stromal cells on the behavior of the CSCs remains poorly understood. Research has recently shown that the micro-environment of human gliomas, the most aggressive human brain tumors, contains both glioma stem cells (GSCs) and cells that resemble human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs), called Glioma Associated-MSCs (GA-MSCs). It has also been shown that GA-MSCs generate a cytokine-mediated increase in the growth and self-renewal (clonogenicity) of GSCs. However, other paracrine interactions between GA-MSCs and GSCs have not been fully explored. Recent studies have suggested that nano-sized vesicles, termed exosomes, may contribute to intercellular communication within the tumor niche. Therefore, a researcher from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston hypothesized that GA-MSC-derived exosomes increase the growth and evolution of gliomas. In their paper, they show for the first time that exosomes can be isolated from patient-derived GA-MSCs and that these exosomes contain oncogenic microRNAs. Importantly, in vitro delivery of exosomes isolated from GA-MSCs significantly increased both the proliferation and clonogenicity of GSCs. Furthermore, GSC xenografts, treated with GA-MSC-derived exosomes, in the brains of nude mice resulted in a greater tumor burden and significantly decreased animal survival. Lastly, delivery of microRNA identified as both highly expressed and highly enriched in GA-MSC-derived exosomes, as identified by LC Sciences’ miRNA microarray service, and altered gene expression in recipient GSCs resulting in the glioma-enhancing effects described, as indicated by LC Sciences digital gene expression sequencing service. It’s concluded that GA-MSC-derived exosomes represent an alternative intercellular communication mechanism for the transfer of specific microRNAs, which enhance the aggressive nature of Gliomas.

Related Service

miRNA Microarray Service – LC Sciences provides a microRNA (miRNA) expression profiling service using microarrays based on our in-house developed µParaflo® technology platform. We have standard arrays for all mature miRNAs of all species available in the latest version of the miRBase database (Release 21, July 2014). Our service is comprehensive and includes sample labeling, array hybridization, image data processing and in-depth data analysis. Two-three weeks after receiving your total RNA samples, we’ll send you both the raw and fully analyzed data. [Learn more…]


Javier Figueroa Investigating the Role of Exosomal Communication in the Glioma Microenvironment (2014) UT GSBS Dissertations and Theses [article][/panel]

Understanding the roles of exosomes in cell-to-cell communication and their potential therapeutic applications Studying mediators of signal transduction in inflammation pathways carried by the exosomes