A novel chromosome abnormality in human neuroblastoma and antifolate-resistant Chinese hamster cell lives in culture

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1976 Sep;57(3):683-95. doi: 10.1093/jnci/57.3.683.


Four cell lines, SK-N-SH, SK-N-MC, SK-N-BE(2), and IMR-32, established in vitro from tumor tissue of patients with neuroblastoma were analyzed by trypsin-Giemsa banding methods. In two of the lines a large, abnormally staining chromosome region was observed. This "homogeneously staining region" (HSR) was considerably longer than any of the bands present in normal human cells and, as revealed by both G- and Q-banding, stained with an intermediate intensity. It was located on chromosomes No 6, 10, 17, or 19 of the SK-N-BE(2) cell line and on chromosome No 1 of the IMR-32 line. In concurrent studies, long HSR's were also observed in Chinese hamster sublines that had been exposed to and had developed high levels of resistance to methotrexate or methasquin and high levels of activity of target enzyme dihydrofolate reductase. For several sublines with the highest levels of enzyme activity, approximately 2% of the total cell protein was dihydrofolate reductase. Of 13 independently derived sublines with acquired resistance to antifolate, only those 7 with greater than 100-fold increases in enzyme activity consistently exhibited HSR's. These regions comprised 2-5% of the total length of the chromosome complement and were specifically localized, as demonstrated by G-banding. Analysis of chromosome replication patterns of the HSR in human neuroblastoma and in drug-resistant Chinese hamster cells by tritiated thymidine radioautography indicated that the long, abnormally staining region replicated relatively rapidly and synchronously and terminated replication before the midpoint of the S phase. The HSR thus appeared to represent a novel chromosome abnormality that may be present in cells with specialized functions. Drug-resistant Chinese hamster cells were characterized by overproduction of target enzyme, whereas human neuroblastoma cells had phenotypes of normal neuronal cells. Whether the HSR is transcriptionally active was not elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Azure Stains
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA Replication
  • Drug Resistance
  • Folic Acid Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Neuroblastoma / enzymology
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase / metabolism


  • Azure Stains
  • Folic Acid Antagonists
  • Tetrahydrofolate Dehydrogenase