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Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor neuropilin-1's distribution in astrocytic tumors

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Broholm H, Laursen H. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor neuropilin-1's distribution in astrocytic tumors. APMIS 2004;112:257–63.

Neuropilin-1 is a VEGF165- and semaphorin receptor expressed by endothelial cells and tumor cells. The specific function of neuropilin-1 is not fully known, but in the developing nervous system neuropilin, as a semaphorin receptor, has been shown to influence neuronal guidance. The expression of neuropilin-1 was studied in low-grade and high-grade astrocytic tumors, the latter characterized by extensive angiogenesis. We examined 20 low-grade astrocytomas (WHO grade II) and 46 glioblastomas (WHO grade IV) immunohistochemically for neuropilin-1, p53 and EGFR. The glioblastomas were according to the p53 and EGFR expression classified as 35 primary –de novo– glioblastomas, 9 secondary glioblastomas, and 2 uncertain cases. Furthermore, the presence of mast cells was evaluated to search for any potential function in angiogenesis. The glioblastomas expressed neuropilin-1 in the endothelial cells of the proliferating vessels and the majority of the glioblastomas had immunoreactive neoplastic astrocytes, with no difference between the glioblastoma subgroups. Six out of twenty of the low-grade astrocytomas were negative in the endothelial cells and 8 out of 20 in the tumor cells for neuropilin-1. Mast cells were observed in the collagen matrix around larger vessels in the leptomeninges, but not adjacent to malignant tumor vessels or as part of the tumor process itself. Increased expression of neuropilin-1 is shown in endothelial cells and in neoplastic astrocytes of glioblastomas. Less neuropilin-1 expression is found in about half of the low-grade astrocytomas in both neoplastic astrocytes and endothelial cells. The results suggest a correlation between neuropilin-1 and vascularity in human astrocytic tumors and a possible role for neuropilin-1 as a receptor for VEGF-induced angiogenesis.
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Keywords: Neuropilin-1; angiogenesis; astrocytic tumors; immunohistochemistry; mast cells

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Neuropathology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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