GSK-3 inhibitors in glioblastoma therapy: mechanisms of action
Handley, Meghan Victoria
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Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most malignant form of brain cancer. Therapies targeting glioblastoma have not consistently been able to give those diagnosed the best prognosis. Treatments that directly infiltrate into the tumor are highly sought after. Indirubins have been used to treat various types of cancers and are a promising avenue for future glioma research. In the current study, we further researched several key GSK-3 inhibitors, BIO (an indirubin) and CHIR99021, in addition to LiCl, to see their effects on the translocation of β-catenin to the nucleus, and the invasion and migration of cells in both a sphere assay and an aortic ring assay. Here we studied anti-invasive therapies that may have a future role in GBM treatment. It is thought that combining conventional treatments with anti-invasive therapies will create cytotoxicity in and reduce migration of the tumor. Three types of cells were used throughout the experiments: HBMEC, HUVEC, and U251 glioma cells. We reported that GSK-3 inhibitors might have a valuable role in the treatment of GBM. The selected inhibitors (BIO, CHIR99021, and LiCl) all were shown to lessen cell migration and invasion in vitro in a range of assays and in all cell lines tested. All inhibitors tested cause a dose-dependent, reversible inhibition of glioma cell invasion in spheroid assays. BIO was shown to cause a rapid upregulation of total and nuclear β-catenin. BIO, at higher concentrations, also created a toxic environment for cells, sometimes killing them. This shows that a more in-depth experiment involving different BIO concentrations is needed to test the optimal concentration for treatment. Each of the experimented GSK-3 inhibitors also showed a change in the junctions between cells. NaCl as a control showed normal, spikey, junctions, while CHIR99021 and BIO caused the junctions to become more smooth. This suggests that GSK-3 inhibition has a role in either maintaining the ECM and/or in communication between cells. Also in this assay, there was a heterogeneity between cells treated with the same inhibitor and in the same dish, indicating that not all cells respond to each drug the same way. The reasons for this are not known and further investigation is required. A new construct was also made to report β-catenin transcriptional coactivation using luciferase expression as the reporter in response to these selected GSK-3 inhibitors.With the combined results of these experiments, we concluded that GSK-3 inhibitors may be a promising approach to the treatment of GBM. Further investigation is required before any treatments can be administered to those diagnosed.