Rho/ROCK and MAPK signaling pathways are involved in glioblastoma cell migration and proliferation

Anticancer Res. 2009 Jan;29(1):119-23.


Background: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains the most aggressive and frequently occurring brain neoplasm. Members of the Rho family of small GTP-binding proteins, including Rho, Rac, and Cdc42, have been shown to participate in cell growth differentiation and motility. The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, which includes extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), has been shown to regulate cell growth, differentiation and motility. Here, the involvement of the Rho and Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK) pathway, along with MAPK, was investigated to determine their roles in GBM cell migration and proliferation.

Materials and methods: In vitro studies utilized the human malignant glioblastoma cell line LN-18. The cells were treated with Y-27632, a ROCK inhibitor, and U0126, an upstream MAPK kinase inhibitor (MEK), alone or in combination with one another. Immunoblotting analysis established the levels of phosphorylated ERK1/2. Cell migration was determined by radial migration assay and cell proliferation by MTT.

Results: Y-27632 reduced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 at 0.5 and 2 h. U0126 in combination with Y-27632 led to a more pronounced repression of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)- or fibronectin (FN)-induced ERK1/2 activation than U0126 treatment alone. Y-27632 treatment for 24 h suppressed GBM cell migration and resulted in a reduction in LN-18 cell proliferation. Furthermore, PDGF and FN-induced cell proliferation was suppressed by pre-treatment with Y-27632 or U0126, with the greatest reduction achieved by a combination of the two inhibitors.

Conclusion: Rho/ROCK signaling is involved in GBM cell migration and proliferation, and this pathway may be linked to ERK signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amides / pharmacology
  • Butadienes / pharmacology
  • Cell Growth Processes / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fibronectins / pharmacology
  • Glioblastoma / enzymology*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Nitriles / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • rho-Associated Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • rho-Associated Kinases / metabolism*


  • Amides
  • Butadienes
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fibronectins
  • Nitriles
  • Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Pyridines
  • U 0126
  • Y 27632
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases