Tumor Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 7699–7710 | Cite as

In vitro expansion of U87-MG human glioblastoma cells under hypoxic conditions affects glucose metabolism and subsequent in vivo growth

  • L. LemaireEmail author
  • F. Franconi
  • B. Siegler
  • C. Legendre
  • E. Garcion
Research Article


Hypoxia is a characteristic feature of solid tumors leading to the over expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α protein and therefore to a specific cellular behavior. However, even though the oxygen tension in tumors is low (<5 %), most of the cell lines used in cancer studies are grown under 21 % oxygen tension. This work focuses on the impact of oxygen conditions during in vitro cell culture on glucose metabolism using 1-13C-glucose. Growing U87-MG glioma cells under hypoxic conditions leads to a two- to threefold reduction of labeled glutamine and an accumulation of fructose. However, under both hypoxic and normoxic conditions, glucose is used for de novo synthesis of pyrimidine since the 13C label is found both in the uracil and ribose moieties. Labeling of the ribose ring demonstrates that U87-MG glioma cells use the reversible branch of the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway. Interestingly, stereotactic implantation of U87-MG cells grown under normoxia or mild hypoxia within the striatum of nude mice led to differential growth; the cells grown under hypoxia retaining an imprint of the oxygen adaptation as their development is then slowed down.


13C-Glucose NMR MRI U87-MG Glioblastoma Hypoxia Metabolism Fructose HIF-1α 



Hypoxia-inducible factor


Phosphofructokinase 1


Vascular endothelial growth factor A


Carbonic anhydrase 9


Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase


Urokinase receptor


Matrix metalloproteinase 2




Octamer binding protein 4


4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid


Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


Ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid


Phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride


Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium


Fetal calf serum


Hank’s balanced salt solution


Heteronuclear multiple quantum coherence


Heteronuclear multiple bond correlation


Rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement



The authors acknowledge financial support from “Comité Inter-Régional Grand Ouest de La Ligue Contre le Cancer”—CIRGO. We would like to thank Ms. S. Avril for her technical assistance in the blots, Mr. J. Cayon for his technical assistance in qPCR, and the members of the local animal facility for the housing and care provided for the animals. Dr. M.S.N. Carpenter post-edited the English style.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Lemaire
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • F. Franconi
    • 3
    • 4
  • B. Siegler
    • 4
  • C. Legendre
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. Garcion
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.INSERM U 1066‘Micro et Nanomédecines Biomimétiques - MINT’ IBS - CHUAngersFrance
  2. 2.LUNAM UniversitéUniversité Angers, UMR-S1066AngersFrance
  3. 3.PRIMEX, Université d’AngersLUNAM UniversitéAngersFrance
  4. 4.PIAM, Université d’AngersLUNAM UniversitéAngersFrance

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