P75NTR induces apoptosis in medulloblastoma cells

Jan Küchler, Wolfgang Hartmann*, Anke Waha, Arend Koch, Elmar Endl, Peter Wurst, Dagmar Kindler, Thomas Mikeska, Andreas Waha, Cynthia G. Goodyer, Reinhard Büttner, Karl Schilling, Torsten Pietsch

*Corresponding author for this work
14 Citations (Scopus)


The classic medulloblastoma (CMB) and the desmoplastic medulloblastoma (DMB) subtypes represent the major medulloblastoma variants. In contrast to CMB, DMB display high levels of the low-affinity nerve growth factor receptor p75NTR. Given the reports of a better clinical course of DMB, we hypothesized that p75NTR might act as a tumor suppressor in medulloblastomas. In a large set of medulloblastomas, p75NTR was screened for mutations, and its mRNA expression and the DNA methylation status of its 5′-region were assessed. p75NTR immunostainings were performed in wild-type murine cerebella and medulloblastomas arising in patched heterozygous mice, and murine cerebellar granule cell precursors (GCP) were analyzed in vitro. Medulloblastoma cells engineered to express p75NTR were characterized flow cytometrically and morphologically. One CMB displayed a mutation of the p75NTR coding sequence. p75NTR mRNA levels clearly delineated DMB and CMB; however, CpG island hypermethylation was excluded as the cause of low p75NTR expression in CMB. Sonic Hedgehog-treated GCP showed elevated p75NTR expression, and strong expression of p75NTR was detected in the external granule cell layer of wild-type mice and in murine ptc± medulloblastomas. CMB cells overexpressing p75NTR displayed a significant increase in apoptosis. In summary, our data link activated Hedgehog signaling in DMB with p75NTR expression and characterize p75NTR as a biologically relevant inductor of apoptosis in MB.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1804-1812
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 15.04.2011


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