Inhibition of platelet-derived growth factor signalling induces autophagy in malignant glioma cells

Br J Cancer. 2004 Mar 8;90(5):1069-75. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6601605.


Malignant gliomas highly coexpress platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and its receptor, suggesting the presence of an autocrine loop. Therefore, disruption of PDGF ligand/receptor complex represents a promising strategy for the treatment of malignant gliomas. However, the mechanisms of the antitumour effect exerted by the inhibition of PDGF-mediated cell growth remain unclear. In the present study, using anti-PDGF neutralising antibody, we investigated the effect of the inhibition of PDGF signalling on malignant glioma U87-MG, D54, and T98G cells with high levels of PDGF-A and -B. As a control, normal fibroblast MRC5 cells expressing low levels of PDGF-A and -B were used. Treatment with anti-PDGF neutralising antibody did not affect the expressions of PDGF-A, PDGF-B, and Akt, but suppressed the level of phosphorylated Akt in tumour cells, indicating the inhibition of PDGF signalling. The cell viability of all malignant glioma cells tested in this study was significantly inhibited in a time-dependent manner following the treatment compared to that of fibroblast cells (P<0.02 to <0.05). The antitumour effect of anti-PDGF antibody was suppressed by the activation of Akt and enhanced by the downregulation of Akt. Interestingly, the inhibition of PDGF signalling induced the development of acidic vesicular organelles and the autophagosome membrane association of the microtubule-associated protein light chain 3, which are characteristic of autophagy, in malignant glioma cells, while apoptotic cell death was not observed. Together these findings imply a new concept of autophagy for PDGF autocrine inhibition in malignant gliomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Autocrine Communication
  • Autophagy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Glioma / metabolism
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / pharmacology
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / immunology
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis / immunology
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • MAP1LC3A protein, human
  • MAP1LC3B protein, human
  • MAP1LC3C protein, human
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-sis
  • platelet-derived growth factor A
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt