Adult Human Glioblastomas Harbor Radial Glia-like Cells

Stem Cell Reports. 2020 Feb 11;14(2):338-350. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2020.01.007. Epub 2020 Jan 30.


Radial glia (RG) cells are the first neural stem cells to appear during embryonic development. Adult human glioblastomas harbor a subpopulation of RG-like cells with typical RG morphology and markers. The cells exhibit the classic and unique mitotic behavior of normal RG in a cell-autonomous manner. Single-cell RNA sequencing analyses of glioblastoma cells reveal transcriptionally dynamic clusters of RG-like cells that share the profiles of normal human fetal radial glia and that reside in quiescent and cycling states. Functional assays show a role for interleukin in triggering exit from dormancy into active cycling, suggesting a role for inflammation in tumor progression. These data are consistent with the possibility of persistence of RG into adulthood and their involvement in tumor initiation or maintenance. They also provide a putative cellular basis for the persistence of normal developmental programs in adult tumors.

Keywords: brain tumor; cancer stem cells; glioblastoma; inflammation; radial glia; scRNASeq; tumor mitosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Genome, Human
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Mitosis
  • Neuroglia / pathology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic