EMMPRIN (extracellular matrix metalloproteinase inducer), also called CD147, basigin or M6 in the human, is a member of the immunoglobulin superfamily that is present on the surface of tumor cells and stimulates adjacent fibroblasts to produce matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). In our study, we investigated expression of EMMPRIN in human normal brain and gliomas, since mouse basigin and chicken HT7, the species homologues of human EMMPRIN, are associated with neuronal interactions and normal blood-brain barrier function, respectively. EMMPRIN expression was detected in all samples of non-neoplastic brain and glioma tissues examined. However, expression levels of EMMPRIN mRNA and protein were significantly higher in gliomas than in non-neoplastic brain. Moreover, levels of mRNA expression and immunohistochemical staining correlated with tumor progression in gliomas: They were highest in the most malignant form of glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, followed by anaplastic astrocytoma and then low-grade astrocytoma. Also, immunolocalization revealed quite different distributions in non-neoplastic brain and glioma: EMMPRIN was demonstrated only in vascular endothelium in non-neoplastic regions of the brain, whereas it was present in tumor cells but not in proliferating blood vessels in malignant gliomas. These data indicate that an MMP inducer molecule EMMPRIN is differently expressed in human normal brain and gliomas and could be associated with astrocytoma progression. Possible mechanisms whereby glioma cell EMMPRIN could influence tumor progression will be discussed.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.