UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Glutamate Signaling and Filopodiagenesis of Astrocytoma Cells in Brain Cancers: Survey and Questions Tabatabaee, Mitra; Menard, Frederic

Abstract

Astrocytes are non-excitable cells in the CNS that can cause life-threatening astrocytoma tumors when they transform to cancerous cells. Perturbed homeostasis of the neurotransmitter glutamate is associated with astrocytoma tumor onset and progression, but the factors that govern this phenomenon are less known. Herein, we review possible mechanisms by which glutamate may act in facilitating the growth of projections in astrocytic cells. This review discusses the similarities and differences between the morphology of astrocytes and astrocytoma cells, and the role that dysregulation in glutamate and calcium signaling plays in the aberrant morphology of astrocytoma cells. Converging reports suggest that ionotropic glutamate receptors and voltage-gated calcium channels expressed in astrocytes may be responsible for the abnormal filopodiagenesis or process extension leading to astrocytoma cells’ infiltration throughout the brain.

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CC BY 4.0