CD133+ niches and single cells in glioblastoma have different phenotypes

J Neurooncol. 2011 Aug;104(1):129-43. doi: 10.1007/s11060-010-0488-y. Epub 2010 Dec 24.


Putative CD133(+) brain tumor stem cells have been shown to be located in niches and as single cells. This is the first study providing insight into the different phenotypes of CD133(+) cells in glioblastoma according to localization. Paraffin sections were stained by double immunofluorescence with CD133 and the candidate stem cell markers Sox2, Bmi-1, EGFR, podoplanin and nestin, the proliferation marker Ki67 and the endothelial cell markers CD31, CD34, and VWF. Cell counting showed that the CD133(+) cells in the niches had a significantly higher expression of Sox2, EGFR and nestin compared to CD133(+) single cells, but only a 3% Ki67 labeling index versus 14% found for CD133(+) single cells. Only low endothelial cell marker expression was found in the niches or the CD133(-) tumor areas, while 43% CD133(+)/CD31(+) and 25% CD133(+)/CD34(+) single cells were found. CD133(+) blood vessels within CD133(+) niches were less proliferative and more often Bmi-1(+) than CD133(+) blood vessels outside niches. In conclusion, different CD133(+) cell phenotypes exist according to the in situ localization, and also the phenotype of CD133(+) blood vessels vary according to the localization. CD133(+) niches contain stem-like cells with a lower proliferation index than CD133(+) single cells, which have an endothelial differentiation profile suggesting a role in angiogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AC133 Antigen
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism*
  • Blood Vessels / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology*


  • AC133 Antigen
  • Antigens, CD
  • BMI1 protein, human
  • Glycoproteins
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PROM1 protein, human
  • Peptides
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • von Willebrand factor receptor
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1