Inhibitory activities of trichostatin a in U87 glioblastoma cells and tumorsphere-derived cells

J Mol Neurosci. 2014 Sep;54(1):27-40. doi: 10.1007/s12031-014-0241-7. Epub 2014 Jan 25.


Epigenetic alterations have been increasingly implicated in glioblastoma (GBM) pathogenesis, and epigenetic modulators including histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) have been investigated as candidate therapies. GBMs are proposed to contain a subpopulation of glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) that sustain tumor progression and therapeutic resistance and can form tumorspheres in culture. Here, we investigate the effects of the HDACi trichostatin A (TSA) in U87 GBM cultures and tumorsphere-derived cells. Using approaches that include a novel method to measure tumorsphere sizes and the area covered by spheres in GBM cultures, as well as a nuclear morphometric analysis, we show that TSA reduced proliferation and colony sizes, led to G2/M arrest, induced alterations in nuclear morphology consistent with cell senescence, and increased the protein content of GFAP, but did not affect migration, in cultured human U87 GBM cells. In cells expanded in tumorsphere assays, TSA reduced sphere formation and induced neuron-like morphological changes. The expression of stemness markers in these cells was detected by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. These findings indicate that HDACis can inhibit proliferation, survival, and tumorsphere formation, and promote differentiation of U87 GBM cells, providing further evidence for the development of HDACis as potential therapeutics against GBM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxamic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Spheroids, Cellular / drug effects
  • Spheroids, Cellular / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Hydroxamic Acids
  • trichostatin A