Original Article

Virchows Archiv

, Volume 430, Issue 1, pp 41-46

First online:

Neurogenic potential of Ewing's sarcoma cells

  • Tetsuro SugimotoAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Keio University School of Medicine
  • , Akihiro UmezawaAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Keio University School of Medicine
  • , Jun-ichi HataAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Keio University School of Medicine

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We investigated the capacity of eight well-characterized Ewing's sarcoma cell lines to differentiate towards a neural phenotype. Ewing's sarcoma cells expressed the neuroectoderm-associated antigens such as nerve growth factor (NGF) receptor, N-CAM (6H7 and Leu-19) and Leu-7. Ewing's sarcoma cells also exhibited the potential for neural differentiation at the mRNA level; neuron-specific medium- and low-sized filament (NF-M and NF-L) expression was induced by dibutyryladenosine cyclic monophosphate. The pattern of expression of NF-L obtained by using alternative polyadenylation sites in Ewing's sarcoma cells differed from that in peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PNET) cells, and was similar to that in undifferentiated neural tissues. Furthermore, the NGF receptors detected by immunohistochemistry were found to be non-functional as assayed byc-fos induction with NGF treatment. The results indicate that Ewing's sarcoma cells maintain a primitive phenotype and have the potential to differentiate into a neural phenotype, indicating that Ewing's sarcoma is distinct from PNET.

Key words

Ewing's sarcoma Neural differentiation Neurofilament protein Nerve growth factor receptor