CNTF and its receptor subunits in human gliomas

Joachim Weis, Lisa M. Schönrock, Stephan L. Züchner, Dieter C. Lie, Ulrich Sure, Christoph Schul, Florian Stögbauer, E. Bernd Ringelstein, Hartmut Halfter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) promotes the survival of various neuronal cell populations. It is produced by astrocytes and influences the development and differentiation of glial cells. CNTF and related neuropoietic cytokines affect growth and differentiation of various neoplasms. Moreover, they induce the reactive transformation of astrocytes (gliosis) and influence growth and differentiation of neuroectodermal tumor cell lines in vitro. However, their role in gliomas is largely unknown. We studied the expression of CNTF and its receptor subunits in human astrocytomas and glioblastomas. In more than 95% of the tumors, CNTF transcripts were found by RNAase protection assay; in more than 80% of the cases, tumor cells were CNTF immunoreactive. CNTF receptor α (CNTFRα), the specific component of the tripartite CNTF receptor system, was detectable by Northern blot analysis in 80% of the cases. In situ hybridization revealed CNTFRα mRNA in the cytoplasm of neoplastic cells. Transcripts of the remaining two components of the CNTF receptor system, gp130 and LIFRβ, were found by Northern blotting in 83% and 70% of the tumors, respectively. Simultaneous expression of CNTF and all its receptor components was detected in approximately half of the tumors. These results indicate that CNTF and its receptor components are expressed by human glioma cells. The simultaneous expression of ligands and receptor subunits suggests that CNTF might act on human glioma cells via an auto- or paracrine mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neuro-oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Astrocytoma
  • CNTF
  • CNTF receptor α
  • Glioblastoma
  • gp130
  • LIF receptor β

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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