Low grade diffuse gliomas: shared cellular composition and morphometric differences

Neuropathology. 2008 Oct;28(5):455-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1789.2008.00897.x. Epub 2008 Feb 15.


Low grade diffuse gliomas arising in the brain are challenging to treat because of their ability to infiltrate adjacent tissue. We attempted to clarify the cellular composition and histopathological features of low grade gliomas by utilizing morphometric and immunohistochemical analyses. Seventy-eight cases of low grade gliomas were examined including 21 diffuse astrocytomas (DA), 36 oligodendrogliomas (OL), and 21 oligoastrocytomas (OA), based on the WHO classification system. Moreover, OL were subdivided into three types based on the morphological characteristics advocated by Daumas-Duport et al.: OL type I, OL type II, and OL type III. The cellularity, nuclear form factor, and conditional entropy corresponding to the nuclear pleomorphism were measured in each sample by the image analysis software "Gunmetry." Twenty-two cases were immunohistochemically analyzed for the expression of several antigens. Morphometric data indicated that the cellularity of OL type II was significantly higher than that of DA, and that the conditional entropy of OL type III was significantly lower than that of DA. Although the results of the immunohistochemical studies were almost consistent with previous reports, there were significant differences in the expression of GFAP, nestin and p53 between DA and OL. Double immunostaining revealed that expression of Olig2 and GFAP, and Olig2 and nestin was mutually exclusive in most glioma cells. Moreover, the coexpression of nestin and GFAP occurred in DA and OA, but not in OL. We conclude that each glioma include cells expressing GFAP, cells expressing nestin, and cells expressing Olig2 in a characteristic proportion for each tumor type. We suggest that diffuse gliomas share cellular compositions in different ratios and that they can be distinguished by morphometrical analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / biosynthesis
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nestin
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / biosynthesis


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nestin
  • OLIG2 protein, human
  • Oligodendrocyte Transcription Factor 2
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53