Downregulation of Wnt2 and beta-catenin by siRNA suppresses malignant glioma cell growth

Cancer Gene Ther. 2009 Apr;16(4):351-61. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2008.78. Epub 2008 Oct 24.


Increasing evidence suggests that aberrant activation of Wnt signaling is involved in tumor development and progression. Our earlier study on gene expression profile in human gliomas by microarray found that some members of Wnt family were overexpressed. To further investigate the involvement of Wnt signaling in gliomas, the expression of core components of Wnt signaling cascade in 45 astrocytic glioma specimens with different tumor grades was examined by reverse transcription-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Wnt2, Wnt5a, frizzled2 and beta-catenin were overexpressed in gliomas. Knockdown of Wnt2 and its key mediator beta-catenin in the canonical Wnt pathway by siRNA in human U251 glioma cells inhibited cell proliferation and invasive ability, and induced apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, treating the nude mice carrying established subcutaneous U251 gliomas with siRNA targeting Wnt2 and beta-catenin intratumorally also delayed the tumor growth. In both in vitro and in vivo studies, downregulation of Wnt2 and beta-catenin was associated with the decrease of PI3K/p-AKT expression, indicating the interplay between Wnt/beta-catenin and PI3K/AKT signaling cascades. In conclusion, the canonical Wnt pathway is of critical importance in the gliomagenesis and intervention of this pathway may provide a new therapeutic approach for malignant gliomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / therapeutic use*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Wnt2 Protein / biosynthesis*
  • Wnt2 Protein / genetics
  • beta Catenin / biosynthesis*
  • beta Catenin / genetics


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Wnt2 Protein
  • beta Catenin