Author(s): Lyons SA, Chung WJ, Weaver AK, Ogunrinu T, Sontheimer H, Lyons SA, Chung WJ, Weaver AK, Ogunrinu T, Sontheimer H, Lyons SA, Chung WJ, Weaver AK, Ogunrinu T, Sontheimer H, Lyons SA, Chung WJ, Weaver AK, Ogunrinu T, Sontheimer H
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Abstract Malignant gliomas have been shown to release glutamate, which kills surrounding brain cells, creating room for tumor expansion. This glutamate release occurs primarily via system xC, a Na+-independent cystine-glutamate exchanger. We show here, in addition, that the released glutamate acts as an essential autocrine/paracrine signal that promotes cell invasion. Specifically, chemotactic invasion and scrape motility assays each show dose-dependent inhibition of cell migration when glutamate release was inhibited using either S-(4)-CPG or sulfasalazine, both potent blockers of system xC. This inhibition could be overcome by the addition of exogenous glutamate (100 micromol/L) in the continued presence of the inhibitors. Migration/invasion was also inhibited when Ca2+-permeable alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptors (AMPA-R) were blocked using GYKI or Joro spider toxin, whereas CNQX was ineffective. Ca2+ imaging experiments show that the released glutamate activates Ca2+-permeable AMPA-R and induces intracellular Ca2+ oscillations that are essential for cell migration. Importantly, glioma cells release glutamate in sufficient quantities to activate AMPA-Rs on themselves or neighboring cells, thus acting in an autocrine and/or paracrine fashion. System xC and the appropriate AMPA-R subunits are expressed in all glioma cell lines, patient-derived glioma cells, and acute patient biopsies investigated. Furthermore, animal studies in which human gliomas were xenographed into scid mice show that chronic inhibition of system xC-mediated glutamate release leads to smaller and less invasive tumors compared with saline-treated controls. These data suggest that glioma invasion is effectively disrupted by inhibiting an autocrine glutamate signaling loop with a clinically approved candidate drug, sulfasalazine, already in hand.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Neurochemistry & Neuropharmacology