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Expression and activity of the urokinase plasminogen activator system in canine primary brain tumors

Authors Rossmeisl JH, Hall-Manning K, Robertson JL, King JN, Davalos RV, Debinski W, Elankumaran S

Received 22 January 2017

Accepted for publication 23 March 2017

Published 12 April 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2077—2085


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Jianmin Xu

John H Rossmeisl,1–3 Kelli Hall-Manning,4 John L Robertson,1,3,5 Jamie N King,1,2 Rafael V Davalos,3,5 Waldemar Debinski,3 Subbiah Elankumaran6,†

1Veterinary and Comparative Neuro-Oncology Laboratory, 2Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, 3The Brain Tumor Center of Excellence, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center, Winston-Salem, NC, 4Virginia Tech Animal Laboratory Services, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, 5Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech, 6Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA, USA

The authors regret to advise of the passing of Dr Subbiah Elankumaran prior to publication

Background: The expression of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein family member, and the activity of its ligand, urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), have been associated with the invasive and metastatic potentials of a variety of human brain tumors through their regulation of extracellular matrix degradation. Domesticated dogs develop naturally occurring brain tumors that share many clinical, phenotypic, molecular, and genetic features with their human counterparts, which has prompted the use of the dogs with spontaneous brain tumors as models to expedite the translation of novel brain tumor therapeutics to humans. There is currently little known regarding the role of the uPA system in canine brain tumorigenesis. The objective of this study was to characterize the expression of uPAR and the activity of uPA in canine brain tumors as justification for the development of uPAR-targeted brain tumor therapeutics in dogs.
Methods: We investigated the expression of uPAR in 37 primary canine brain tumors using immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction analyses, and by the assay of the activity of uPA using casein–plasminogen zymography.
Results: Expression of uPAR was observed in multiple tumoral microenvironmental niches, including neoplastic cells, stroma, and the vasculature of canine brain tumors. Relative to normal brain tissues, uPAR protein and mRNA expression were significantly greater in canine meningiomas, gliomas, and choroid plexus tumors. Increased activity of uPA was documented in all tumor types.
Conclusions: uPAR is overexpressed and uPA activity increased in canine meningiomas, gliomas, and choroid plexus tumors. This study illustrates the potential of uPAR/uPA molecularly targeted approaches for canine brain tumor therapeutics and reinforces the translational significance of canines with spontaneous brain tumors as models for human disease.

Keywords: brain tumor, neuro-oncology, dog, animal model, protease, meningioma, glioma

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