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Aquaporins and Brain Tumors

  • Autori: Maugeri, R; Schiera, G; Di Liegro, CM; Fricano, A; Iacopino, DG; Di Liegro I.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Review essay (rassegna critica) (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Brain primary tumors are among the most diverse and complex human cancers, and they are normally classified on the basis of the cell-type and/or the grade of malignancy (the most malignant being glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), grade IV). Glioma cells are able to migrate throughout the brain and to stimulate angiogenesis, by inducing brain capillary endothelial cell proliferation. This in turn causes loss of tight junctions and fragility of the blood-brain barrier, which becomes leaky. As a consequence, the most serious clinical complication of glioblastoma is the vasogenic brain edema. Both glioma cell migration and edema have been correlated with modification of the expression/localization of different isoforms of aquaporins (AQPs), a family of water channels, some of which are also involved in the transport of other small molecules, such as glycerol and urea. In this review, we discuss relationships among expression/localization of AQPs and brain tumors/edema, also focusing on the possible role of these molecules as both diagnostic biomarkers of cancer progression, and therapeutic targets. Finally, we will discuss the possibility that AQPs, together with other cancer promoting factors, can be exchanged among brain cells via extracellular vesicles (EVs).