Overexpression and localization of cathepsin B during the progression of human gliomas

Clin Exp Metastasis. 1995 Jan;13(1):49-56. doi: 10.1007/BF00144018.


Degradation of the extracellular matrix is a prerequisite for acquisition of the invasive phenotype. Several proteinases released by invading tumor cells appear to participate in the focal degradation of extracellular matrix proteins. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, enzymatic assays, Western and Northern blotting techniques, we determined whether increased levels of the cysteine protease cathepsin B correlated with the progression and invasion of human gliomas. The amount of cathepsin B activity and protein content were highest in glioblastomas, lower in anaplastic astrocytomas and lowest in normal brain tissue and low-grade gliomas. There were significantly higher amounts of M(r) 25,000 and 26,000 bands in glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma than in normal brain and low-grade glioma tissue extracts as determined by Western blotting with anti-cathepsin antibodies. In addition, cathepsin B transcripts were overexpressed in anaplastic astrocytoma (about two- to three-fold), in glioblastoma (about eight- to 10-fold), compared with normal brain tissue and low-grade glioma. Immunohistochemical staining for cathepsin B showed intense immunoreactivity in tumor and endothelial cells of glioblastomas and anaplastic astrocytomas but only weak immunoreactivity in low-grade glioma and normal brain tissues. Therefore, we conclude that cathepsin B expression is greatest in highly malignant astrocytomas, especially in glioblastomas, and is correlated with the malignant progression of astrocytomas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Cathepsin B / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Glioma / enzymology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • RNA, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation


  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Cathepsin B