The presence of a CD133+/nestin+ population in brain tumors suggests that a normal neural stem cell may be the cell of origin for gliomas. We have identified human CD133-positive NSCs from adult glioma tissue and established them as long-term in vitro cultures human neuroglial culture (HNGC)-1. Replicative senescence in HNGC-1 led to a high level of genomic instability and emergence of a spontaneously immortalized clone that developed into cell line HNGC-2 with features of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which include the ability for self-renewal and the capacity to form CD133-positive neurospheres and develop intracranial tumors. The data from our study specify an important role of genomic instability in initiation of transformed state as well as its progression into highly tumorigenic CSCs. The activated forms of Notch and Hes isoforms were expressed in both non-neoplastic neural stem cells and brain tumor stem cells derived from it. Importantly, a significant overexpression of these molecules was found in the brain tumor stem cells. These findings suggest that this model comprised of HNGC-1 and HNGC-2 cells would be a useful system for studying pathways involved in self-renewal of stem cells and their transformation to cancer stem cells.
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.