Expression of PECAM-1/CD31 isoforms in human brain gliomas

J Neurooncol. 1999 May;43(1):19-25. doi: 10.1023/a:1006233816724.


Microvascular proliferation is a histopathological hallmark of glioblastomas and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (PECAM-1/CD31) is involved in angiogenesis. PECAM-1 mediates homophilic and heterophilic interactions (with glycosaminoglycans and alphaVbeta3), but deletion of exon 14 results in a loss of heterophilic adhesion. Expression of various PECAM-1 isoforms was searched for in brain gliomas, showing microvascular proliferation (glioblastomas and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas) or not (oligodendrogliomas). In addition, expression of alphaVbeta3 in some tumors was studied by immunohistochemistry. Various tissues and the HUVEC primary cell line were used as controls. Immunohistochemistry showed that PECAM-1 was expressed by all endothelial cells in all tissues and by some tumor cells in glioblastomas and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas. Microvascular proliferation always expressed alphaVbeta3. In addition, some tumor cells in anaplastic oligodendroglioma and glioblastomas expressed it. In all samples examined, PECAM-1 exists under at least two transcriptional isoforms: the whole length molecule and an isoform made by the splicing of exon 14. Western blot analysis revealed in all cases 130 and 110 kDa bands corresponding to the mature form and its precursor respectively. These results suggest that splicing of exon 14 occurs in vivo in various normal and tumoral tissues and may modulate PECAM-1 adhesion according to the presence or not of other PECAM-1 ligands such as alphaVbeta3. Expression of PECAM-1 by tumor cells in glioblastomas and anaplastic oligodendrogliomas may favour angiogenesis by specific PECAM-1 interactions between glial and endothelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Exons
  • Glioma / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Isoforms / analysis*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Protein Isoforms