1. A human glioma cell line, NG97, was established by Grippo et al. in 2001 from tissue obtained from a grade III astrocytoma (WHO, 2000). In this first study, the cell line grew as two morphologically distinct subpopulations: dendritic/spindle cells and small round cells. The injection of NG97 cells into nude mice induced an aggressive tumor characterized by: severe cytological atypia, vascular proliferation and pseudopalisading necrosis (glioblastoma multiforme features). 2. The purpose of the present study was to characterize the immunophenotype and ultrastructural aspects of this cell line, using the parental tumor, cultured cells and the xenotransplant, in order to assess its glial nature and possible divergent differentiation. 3. NG97 cells and xenotransplant expressed the main neuroglial markers (GFAP, S-100 protein, NSE and Leu-7) and showed no aberrant expression of other histogenetic markers. GFAP was similarly expressed in the parental tumor and in the cells in culture, but decreased in the xenotransplant. NSE expression was reduced in NG97 cells, but substantially recovered in the xenotransplant. This variability in expression of GFAP and NSE was interpreted as either a phenomenon of dedifferentiation or to microenvironmental selection of specific subclones. S-100 was equally expressed in the three contexts. The xenotransplant's ultrastructural features were those of a highly undifferentiated tumor. No significant immunophenotypic or ultrastructural differences between the two morphologically distinct populations were found. 4. Thus, our data demonstrate that NG97 cells constitute a pure glial-committed cell line, which may prove useful as a malignant glioma model in studies addressing pathophysiological, diagnostic and therapeutic issues.