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Exploitation of chick embryo environments to reprogram MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells to a benign phenotype, lacking detectable MYCN expression.

ABSTRACT: Neuroblastoma is a paediatric cancer that arises from the sympathetic ganglia (SG) or adrenal gland. Tumours that occur in patients under 18 months of age have a particularly good prognosis and frequently undergo spontaneous regression. This led to the hypothesis that developmental cues in the youngest patients may prompt belated differentiation and/or apoptosis of the tumour cells. To test our hypothesis, we have injected MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells into the extra embryonic veins of chick embryos at embryonic day 3 (E3) and E6 and analysed the response of these Kelly cells at E10 and E14. Amplification of the MYCN gene occurs in up to 30% of tumours and is normally associated with a very poor prognosis. Kelly cells injected at E3 follow neural crest pathways and integrate into neural locations such as SG and the enteric nervous system although never into the adrenal gland. Additionally they migrate to non-neural locations such as the heart, meninges, jaw regions and tail. The cells respond to their respective microenvironments and in SG, some cells differentiate, they show reduced cell division and crucially all cells have undetectable MYCN expression by E10. In non-neural locations, cells form more rapidly dividing clumps and continue to express MYCN. The downregulation of MYCN is dependent on continuous and direct interaction with the sympathetic ganglion environment. We propose that the MYCN-amplicon in the Kelly cells retains the ability to correctly interpret the environmental cues leading to downregulation of MYCN.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC3503288 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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