Honors & Awards

  • The Matthew Larson Foundation for Pediatric Brain Tumors Award, The Matthew Larson Foundation (2015)
  • Best Postdoctoral Award, 6th Annual Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Retreat (2014)
  • First Place in ZEISS & Cureus Intraoperative Fluorescence Competition, ZEISS (2014)
  • Pew Latin American Fellow in Biomedical Sciences Award, PEW (2013 - 2015)
  • Young Researcher Postdoctoral Fellowship, Brazilian National Research Council (2010 - 2012)
  • Honorable Mention, XV Brazilian Society for Cell Biology Meeting (2010)
  • Young Researcher Award, Brazilian Society for Cell Biology (2010)
  • Cum Laude Academic Degree, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2006)
  • Finalist Best Project Award, XXVII Giulio Massarani Meeting - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2005)
  • Honorable Mention, XXVII Giulio Massarani Meeting - Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2005)
  • Ranked first in the Selection for Ph.D. Scholars, Biomedical Sciences Institute (2005)

Professional Education

  • Magna Cum Laude Degree: BS, Universidade Federal Rio De Janeiro, Cell Biology (2006)
  • PhD, Université Paris IV - Sorbonne, Cancer Biology (2010)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Multiple Subsets of Brain Tumor Initiating Cells Coexist in Glioblastoma STEM CELLS Rennert, R. C., Achrol, A. S., Januszyk, M., Kahn, S. A., Liu, T. T., Liu, Y., Sahoo, D., Rodrigues, M., Maan, Z. N., Wong, V. W., Cheshier, S. H., Chang, S. D., Steinberg, G. K., Harsh, G. R., Gurtner, G. C. 2016; 34 (6): 1702-1707


    Brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) are self-renewing multipotent cells critical for tumor maintenance and growth. Using single-cell microfluidic profiling, we identified multiple subpopulations of BTICs co-existing in human glioblastoma, characterized by distinct surface marker expression and single-cell molecular profiles relating to distinct bulk tissue molecular subtypes. These data suggest BTIC subpopulation heterogeneity as an underlying source of intra-tumoral bulk tissue molecular heterogeneity, and will support future studies into BTIC subpopulation-specific therapies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/stem.2359

    View details for Web of Science ID 000378089500025

    View details for PubMedID 26991945

  • Anti-CD47 Treatment Stimulates Phagocytosis of Glioblastoma by M1 and M2 Polarized Macrophages and Promotes M1 Polarized Macrophages In Vivo PLOS ONE Zhang, M., Hutter, G., Kahn, S. A., Azad, T. D., Gholamin, S., Xu, C. Y., Liu, J., Achrol, A. S., Richard, C., Sommerkamp, P., Schoen, M. K., McCracken, M. N., Majeti, R., Weissman, I., Mitra, S. S., Cheshier, S. H. 2016; 11 (4)


    Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) represent an important cellular subset within the glioblastoma (WHO grade IV) microenvironment and are a potential therapeutic target. TAMs display a continuum of different polarization states between antitumorigenic M1 and protumorigenic M2 phenotypes, with a lower M1/M2 ratio correlating with worse prognosis. Here, we investigated the effect of macrophage polarization on anti-CD47 antibody-mediated phagocytosis of human glioblastoma cells in vitro, as well as the effect of anti-CD47 on the distribution of M1 versus M2 macrophages within human glioblastoma cells grown in mouse xenografts. Bone marrow-derived mouse macrophages and peripheral blood-derived human macrophages were polarized in vitro toward M1 or M2 phenotypes and verified by flow cytometry. Primary human glioblastoma cell lines were offered as targets to mouse and human M1 or M2 polarized macrophages in vitro. The addition of an anti-CD47 monoclonal antibody led to enhanced tumor-cell phagocytosis by mouse and human M1 and M2 macrophages. In both cases, the anti-CD47-induced phagocytosis by M1 was more prominent than that for M2. Dissected tumors from human glioblastoma xenografted within NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid Il2rgtm1Wjl/SzJ mice and treated with anti-CD47 showed a significant increase of M1 macrophages within the tumor. These data show that anti-CD47 treatment leads to enhanced tumor cell phagocytosis by both M1 and M2 macrophage subtypes with a higher phagocytosis rate by M1 macrophages. Furthermore, these data demonstrate that anti-CD47 treatment alone can shift the phenotype of macrophages toward the M1 subtype in vivo.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0153550

    View details for Web of Science ID 000374541200027

    View details for PubMedID 27092773

  • The availability of the embryonic TGF-ß protein Nodal is dynamically regulated during glioblastoma multiforme tumorigenesis. Cancer cell international Oliveira-Nunes, M. C., Assad Kahn, S., de Oliveira Barbeitas, A. L., E Spohr, T. C., Dubois, L. G., Ventura Matioszek, G. M., Querido, W., Campanati, L., de Brito Neto, J. M., Lima, F. R., Moura-Neto, V., Carneiro, K. 2016; 16: 46-?


    Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor presenting self-renewing cancer stem cells. The role of these cells on the development of the tumors has been proposed to recapitulate programs from embryogenesis. Recently, the embryonic transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) protein Nodal has been shown to be reactivated upon tumor development; however, its availability in GBM cells has not been addressed so far. In this study, we investigated by an original approach the mechanisms that dynamically control both intra and extracellular Nodal availability during GBM tumorigenesis.We characterized the dynamics of Nodal availability in both stem and more differentiated GBM cells through morphological analysis, immunofluorescence of Nodal protein and of early (EEA1 and Rab5) and late (Rab7 and Rab11) endocytic markers and Western Blot. Tukey's test was used to analyze the prevalent correlation of Nodal with different endocytic markers inside specific differentiation states, and Sidak's multiple comparisons test was used to compare the prevalence of Nodal/endocytic markers co-localization between two differentiation states of GBM cells. Paired t test was used to analyze the abundance of Nodal protein, in extra and intracellular media.The cytoplasmic distribution of Nodal was dynamically regulated and strongly correlated with the differentiation status of GBM cells. While Nodal-positive vesicle-like particles were symmetrically distributed in GBM stem cells (GBMsc), they presented asymmetric perinuclear localization in more differentiated GBM cells (mdGBM). Strikingly, when subjected to dedifferentiation, the distribution of Nodal in mdGBM shifted to a symmetric pattern. Moreover, the availability of both intracellular and secreted Nodal were downregulated upon GBMsc differentiation, with cells becoming elongated, negative for Nodal and positive for Nestin. Interestingly, the co-localization of Nodal with endosomal vesicles also depended on the differentiation status of the cells, with Nodal seen more packed in EEA1/Rab5 + vesicles in GBMsc and more in Rab7/11 + vesicles in mdGBM.Our results show for the first time that Nodal availability relates to GBM cell differentiation status and that it is dynamically regulated by an endocytic pathway during GBM tumorigenesis, shedding new light on molecular pathways that might emerge as putative targets for Nodal signaling in GBM therapy.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s12935-016-0324-3

    View details for PubMedID 27330409

  • The anti-hypertensive drug prazosin inhibits glioblastoma growth via the PKCd-dependent inhibition of the AKT pathway. EMBO molecular medicine Assad Kahn, S., Costa, S. L., Gholamin, S., Nitta, R. T., Dubois, L. G., Fève, M., Zeniou, M., Coelho, P. L., El-Habr, E., Cadusseau, J., Varlet, P., Mitra, S. S., Devaux, B., Kilhoffer, M., Cheshier, S. H., Moura-Neto, V., Haiech, J., Junier, M., Chneiweiss, H. 2016; 8 (5): 511-526


    A variety of drugs targeting monoamine receptors are routinely used in human pharmacology. We assessed the effect of these drugs on the viability of tumor-initiating cells isolated from patients with glioblastoma. Among the drugs targeting monoamine receptors, we identified prazosin, an α1- and α2B-adrenergic receptor antagonist, as the most potent inducer of patient-derived glioblastoma-initiating cell death. Prazosin triggered apoptosis of glioblastoma-initiating cells and of their differentiated progeny, inhibited glioblastoma growth in orthotopic xenografts of patient-derived glioblastoma-initiating cells, and increased survival of glioblastoma-bearing mice. We found that prazosin acted in glioblastoma-initiating cells independently from adrenergic receptors. Its off-target activity occurred via a PKCδ-dependent inhibition of the AKT pathway, which resulted in caspase-3 activation. Blockade of PKCδ activation prevented all molecular changes observed in prazosin-treated glioblastoma-initiating cells, as well as prazosin-induced apoptosis. Based on these data, we conclude that prazosin, an FDA-approved drug for the control of hypertension, inhibits glioblastoma growth through a PKCδ-dependent mechanism. These findings open up promising prospects for the use of prazosin as an adjuvant therapy for glioblastoma patients.

    View details for DOI 10.15252/emmm.201505421

    View details for PubMedID 27138566

  • Neural Placode Tissue Derived From Myelomeningocele Repair Serves as a Viable Source of Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells NEUROSURGERY Mitra, S. S., Feroze, A. H., Gholamin, S., Richard, C., Esparza, R., Zhang, M., Azad, T. D., Alrfaei, B., Kahn, S. A., Hutter, G., Guzman, R., Creasey, G. H., Plant, G. W., Weissman, I. L., Edwards, M. S., Cheshier, S. 2015; 77 (5): 794-802


    The presence, characteristics, and potential clinical relevance of neural progenitor populations within the neural placodes of myelomeningocele patients remain to be studied. Neural stem cells are known to reside adjacent to ependyma-lined surfaces along the central nervous system axis.Given such neuroanatomic correlation and regenerative capacity in fetal development, we assessed myelomeningocele-derived neural placode tissue as a potentially novel source of neural stem and progenitor cells.Nonfunctional neural placode tissue was harvested from infants during the surgical repair of myelomeningocele and subsequently further analyzed by in vitro studies, flow cytometry, and immunofluorescence. To assess lineage potential, neural placode-derived neurospheres were subjected to differential media conditions. Through assessment of platelet-derived growth factor α (PDGFRα) and CD15 cell marker expression, Sox2+Olig2+ putative oligodendrocyte progenitor cells were successfully isolated.PDGFRαCD15 cell populations demonstrated the highest rate of self-renewal capacity and multipotency of cell progeny. Immunofluorescence of neural placode-derived neurospheres demonstrated preferential expression of the oligodendrocyte progenitor marker, CNPase, whereas differentiation to neurons and astrocytes was also noted, albeit to a limited degree.Neural placode tissue contains multipotent progenitors that are preferentially biased toward oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation and presents a novel source of such cells for use in the treatment of a variety of pediatric and adult neurological disease, including spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and metabolic leukoencephalopathies.OPC, oligodendrocyte progenitor cellPDGFRα, platelet-derived growth factor receptor αSCI, spinal cord injury.

    View details for DOI 10.1227/NEU.0000000000000918

    View details for Web of Science ID 000363289000027

    View details for PubMedID 26225855

  • gamma-Glutamyl transferase 7 is a novel regulator of glioblastoma growth BMC CANCER Bui, T. T., Nitta, R. T., Kahn, S. A., Razavi, S., Agarwal, M., Aujla, P., Gholamin, S., Recht, L., Li, G. 2015; 15
  • Connective-Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF/CCN2) Induces Astrogenesis and Fibronectin Expression of Embryonic Neural Cells In Vitro. PloS one Mendes, F. A., Coelho Aguiar, J. M., Kahn, S. A., Reis, A. H., Dubois, L. G., Romão, L. F., Ferreira, L. S., Chneiweiss, H., Moura Neto, V., Abreu, J. G. 2015; 10 (8): e0133689


    Connective-tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a modular secreted protein implicated in multiple cellular events such as chondrogenesis, skeletogenesis, angiogenesis and wound healing. CTGF contains four different structural modules. This modular organization is characteristic of members of the CCN family. The acronym was derived from the first three members discovered, cysteine-rich 61 (CYR61), CTGF and nephroblastoma overexpressed (NOV). CTGF is implicated as a mediator of important cell processes such as adhesion, migration, proliferation and differentiation. Extensive data have shown that CTGF interacts particularly with the TGFβ, WNT and MAPK signaling pathways. The capacity of CTGF to interact with different growth factors lends it an important role during early and late development, especially in the anterior region of the embryo. ctgf knockout mice have several cranio-facial defects, and the skeletal system is also greatly affected due to an impairment of the vascular-system development during chondrogenesis. This study, for the first time, indicated that CTGF is a potent inductor of gliogenesis during development. Our results showed that in vitro addition of recombinant CTGF protein to an embryonic mouse neural precursor cell culture increased the number of GFAP- and GFAP/Nestin-positive cells. Surprisingly, CTGF also increased the number of Sox2-positive cells. Moreover, this induction seemed not to involve cell proliferation. In addition, exogenous CTGF activated p44/42 but not p38 or JNK MAPK signaling, and increased the expression and deposition of the fibronectin extracellular matrix protein. Finally, CTGF was also able to induce GFAP as well as Nestin expression in a human malignant glioma stem cell line, suggesting a possible role in the differentiation process of gliomas. These results implicate ctgf as a key gene for astrogenesis during development, and suggest that its mechanism may involve activation of p44/42 MAPK signaling. Additionally, CTGF-induced differentiation of glioblastoma stem cells into a less-tumorigenic state could increase the chances of successful intervention, since differentiated cells are more vulnerable to cancer treatments.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0133689

    View details for PubMedID 26241738

  • Chemical Library Screening and Structure-Function Relationship Studies Identify Bisacodyl as a Potent and Selective Cytotoxic Agent Towards Quiescent Human Glioblastoma Tumor Stem-Like Cells. PloS one Zeniou, M., Fève, M., Mameri, S., Dong, J., Salomé, C., Chen, W., El-Habr, E. A., Bousson, F., Sy, M., Obszynski, J., Boh, A., Villa, P., Assad Kahn, S., Didier, B., Bagnard, D., Junier, M. P., Chneiweiss, H., Haiech, J., Hibert, M., Kilhoffer, M. C. 2015; 10 (8): e0134793


    Cancer stem-like cells reside in hypoxic and slightly acidic tumor niches. Such microenvironments favor more aggressive undifferentiated phenotypes and a slow growing "quiescent state" which preserves them from chemotherapeutic agents that essentially target proliferating cells. Our objective was to identify compounds active on glioblastoma stem-like cells, including under conditions that mimick those found in vivo within this most severe and incurable form of brain malignancy. We screened the Prestwick Library to identify cytotoxic compounds towards glioblastoma stem-like cells, either in a proliferating state or in more slow-growing "quiescent" phenotype resulting from non-renewal of the culture medium in vitro. Compound effects were assessed by ATP-level determination using a cell-based assay. Twenty active molecules belonging to different pharmacological classes have thus been identified. Among those, the stimulant laxative drug bisacodyl was the sole to inhibit in a potent and specific manner the survival of quiescent glioblastoma stem-like cells. Subsequent structure-function relationship studies led to identification of 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl-2-pyridyl-methane (DDPM), the deacetylated form of bisacodyl, as the pharmacophore. To our knowledge, bisacodyl is currently the only known compound targeting glioblastoma cancer stem-like cells in their quiescent, more resistant state. Due to its known non-toxicity in humans, bisacodyl appears as a new potential anti-tumor agent that may, in association with classical chemotherapeutic compounds, participate in tumor eradication.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0134793

    View details for PubMedID 26270679

  • dsDNA, ssDNA, G-quadruplex DNA, and nucleosomal DNA electrochemical screening using canthin-6-one alkaloid-modified electrodes ELECTROCHIMICA ACTA Domenech-Carbo, A., Cebrian-Torrejon, G., de Miguel, L., Tordera, V., Rodrigues-Furtado, D., Assad-Kahn, S., Fournet, A., Figadere, B., Vazquez-Manrique, R. P., Poupon, E. 2014; 115: 546-552
  • Gliomas and the vascular fragility of the blood brain barrier. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience Dubois, L. G., Campanati, L., Righy, C., D'Andrea-Meira, I., Spohr, T. C., Porto-Carreiro, I., Pereira, C. M., Balça-Silva, J., Kahn, S. A., DosSantos, M. F., Oliveira, M. d., Ximenes-da-Silva, A., Lopes, M. C., Faveret, E., Gasparetto, E. L., Moura-Neto, V. 2014; 8: 418-?


    Astrocytes, members of the glial family, interact through the exchange of soluble factors or by directly contacting neurons and other brain cells, such as microglia and endothelial cells. Astrocytic projections interact with vessels and act as additional elements of the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB). By mechanisms not fully understood, astrocytes can undergo oncogenic transformation and give rise to gliomas. The tumors take advantage of the BBB to ensure survival and continuous growth. A glioma can develop into a very aggressive tumor, the glioblastoma (GBM), characterized by a highly heterogeneous cell population (including tumor stem cells), extensive proliferation and migration. Nevertheless, gliomas can also give rise to slow growing tumors and in both cases, the afflux of blood, via BBB is crucial. Glioma cells migrate to different regions of the brain guided by the extension of blood vessels, colonizing the healthy adjacent tissue. In the clinical context, GBM can lead to tumor-derived seizures, which represent a challenge to patients and clinicians, since drugs used for its treatment must be able to cross the BBB. Uncontrolled and fast growth also leads to the disruption of the chimeric and fragile vessels in the tumor mass resulting in peritumoral edema. Although hormonal therapy is currently used to control the edema, it is not always efficient. In this review we comment the points cited above, considering the importance of the BBB and the concerns that arise when this barrier is affected.

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fncel.2014.00418

    View details for PubMedID 25565956

  • Retinoblastoma protein regulates the crosstalk between autophagy and apoptosis, and favors glioblastoma resistance to etoposide. Cell death & disease Biasoli, D., Kahn, S. A., Cornélio, T. A., Furtado, M., Campanati, L., Chneiweiss, H., Moura-Neto, V., Borges, H. L. 2013; 4


    Glioblastomas (GBMs) are devastating tumors of the central nervous system, with a poor prognosis of 1-year survival. This results from a high resistance of GBM tumor cells to current therapeutic options, including etoposide (VP-16). Understanding resistance mechanisms may thus open new therapeutic avenues. VP-16 is a topoisomerase inhibitor that causes replication fork stalling and, ultimately, the formation of DNA double-strand breaks and apoptotic cell death. Autophagy has been identified as a VP-16 treatment resistance mechanism in tumor cells. Retinoblastoma protein (RB) is a classical tumor suppressor owing to its role in G1/S cell cycle checkpoint, but recent data have shown RB participation in many other cellular functions, including, counterintuitively, negative regulation of apoptosis. As GBMs usually display an amplification of the EGFR signaling involving the RB protein pathway, we questioned whether RB might be involved in mechanisms of resistance of GBM cells to VP-16. We observed that RB silencing increased VP-16-induced DNA double-strand breaks and p53 activation. Moreover, RB knockdown increased VP-16-induced apoptosis in GBM cell lines and cancer stem cells, the latter being now recognized essential to resistance to treatments and recurrence. We also showed that VP-16 treatment induced autophagy, and that RB silencing impaired this process by inhibiting the fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes. Taken together, our data suggest that RB silencing causes a blockage on the VP-16-induced autophagic flux, which is followed by apoptosis in GBM cell lines and in cancer stem cells. Therefore, we show here, for the first time, that RB represents a molecular link between autophagy and apoptosis, and a resistance marker in GBM, a discovery with potential importance for anticancer treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/cddis.2013.283

    View details for PubMedID 23949216

  • Late adherent human bone marrow stromal cells form bone and restore the hematopoietic microenvironment in vivo. BioMed research international Vianna, V. F., Bonfim, D. C., Cavalcanti, A. D., Fernandes, M. C., Kahn, S. A., Casado, P. L., Lima, I. C., Murray, S. S., Murray, E. J., Duarte, M. E. 2013; 2013: 790842-?


    Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) are a valuable resource for skeletal regenerative medicine because of their osteogenic potential. In spite of the very general term "stem cell," this population of cells is far from homogeneous, and different BMSCs clones have greatly different phenotypic properties and, therefore, potentially different therapeutic potential. Adherence to a culture flask surface is a primary defining characteristic of BMSCs. We hypothesized that based on the adherence time we could obtain an enriched population of cells with a greater therapeutic potential. We characterized two populations of bone marrow-derived cells, those that adhered by three days (R-cells) and those that did not adhere by three days but did by six days (L-cells). Clones derived from L-cells could be induced into adipogenic, chondrogenic, and osteogenic differentiation in vitro. L-cells appeared to have greater proliferative capacity, as manifested by larger colony diameter and clones with higher CD146 expression. Only clones from L-cells developed bone marrow stroma in vivo. We conclude that the use of late adherence of BMSCs is one parameter that can be used to enrich for cells that will constitute a superior final product for cell therapy in orthopedics.

    View details for DOI 10.1155/2013/790842

    View details for PubMedID 23710460

  • Glioblastoma: Therapeutic challenges, what lies ahead BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-REVIEWS ON CANCER Lima, F. R., Kahn, S. A., Soletti, R. C., Biasoli, D., Alves, T., da Fonseca, A. C., Garcia, C., Romao, L., Brito, J., Holanda-Afonso, R., Faria, J., Borges, H., Moura-Neto, V. 2012; 1826 (2): 338-349


    Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most aggressive human cancers. Despite current advances in multimodality therapies, such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the outcome for patients with high grade glioma remains fatal. The knowledge of how glioma cells develop and depend on the tumor environment might open opportunities for new therapies. There is now a growing awareness that the main limitations in understanding and successfully treating GBM might be bypassed by the identification of a distinct cell type that has defining properties of somatic stem cells, as well as cancer-initiating capacity - brain tumor stem cells, which could represent a therapeutic target. In addition, experimental studies have demonstrated that the combination of antiangiogenic therapy, based on the disruption of tumor blood vessels, with conventional chemotherapy generates encouraging results. Emerging reports have also shown that microglial cells can be used as therapeutic vectors to transport genes and/or substances to the tumor site, which opens up new perspectives for the development of GBM therapies targeting microglial cells. Finally, recent studies have shown that natural toxins can be conjugated to drugs that bind to overexpressed receptors in cancer cells, generating targeted-toxins to selectively kill cancer cells. These targeted-toxins are highly effective against radiation- and chemotherapy-resistant cancer cells, making them good candidates for clinical trials in GBM patients. In this review, we discuss recent studies that reveal new possibilities of GBM treatment taking into account cancer stem cells, angiogenesis, microglial cells and drug delivery in the development of new targeted-therapies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbcan.2012.05.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000310104900006

    View details for PubMedID 22677165

  • Astrocyte-induced synaptogenesis is mediated by transforming growth factor ß signaling through modulation of D-serine levels in cerebral cortex neurons. journal of biological chemistry Diniz, L. P., Almeida, J. C., Tortelli, V., Vargas Lopes, C., Setti-Perdigão, P., Stipursky, J., Kahn, S. A., Romão, L. F., De Miranda, J., Alves-Leon, S. V., de Souza, J. M., Castro, N. G., Panizzutti, R., Gomes, F. C. 2012; 287 (49): 41432-41445


    Assembly of synapses requires proper coordination between pre- and postsynaptic elements. Identification of cellular and molecular events in synapse formation and maintenance is a key step to understand human perception, learning, memory, and cognition. A key role for astrocytes in synapse formation and function has been proposed. Here, we show that transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) signaling is a novel synaptogenic pathway for cortical neurons induced by murine and human astrocytes. By combining gain and loss of function approaches, we show that TGF-?1 induces the formation of functional synapses in mice. Further, TGF-?1-induced synaptogenesis involves neuronal activity and secretion of the co-agonist of the NMDA receptor, D-serine. Manipulation of D-serine signaling, by either genetic or pharmacological inhibition, prevented the TGF-?1 synaptogenic effect. Our data show a novel molecular mechanism that might impact synaptic function and emphasize the evolutionary aspect of the synaptogenic property of astrocytes, thus shedding light on new potential therapeutic targets for synaptic deficit diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M112.380824

    View details for PubMedID 23055518

  • Microglial stress inducible protein 1 promotes proliferation and migration in human glioblastoma cells. Neuroscience Fonseca, A. C., Romão, L., Amaral, R. F., Assad Kahn, S., Lobo, D., Martins, S., Marcondes de Souza, J., Moura-Neto, V., Lima, F. R. 2012; 200: 130-141


    Microglial activation is a key event in the progression and infiltration of tumors. We have previously demonstrated that the co-chaperone stress inducible protein 1 (STI1), a cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) ligand, promotes glioblastoma (GBM) proliferation. In the present study, we examined the influence of microglial STI1 in the growth and invasion of the human glioblastoma cell line GBM95. We demonstrated that soluble factors secreted by microglia into the culture medium (microglia conditioned medium; MG CM) caused a two-fold increase in the proliferation of GBM95 cells. This effect was reversed when STI1 was removed from the MG CM. In this context, we have shown that microglial cells synthesize and secrete STI1. Interestingly, no difference was observed in proliferation rates when GBM cells were maintained in MG CM or MG CM containing an anti-PrP(C) neutralizing antibody. Moreover, rec STI1 and rec STI1(?230-245), which lack the PrP(C) binding site, both promoted similar levels of GBM95 proliferation. In the migration assays, MG CM favored the migration of GBM95 cells, but migration failed when STI1 was removed from the MG CM. We detected metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) activity in the MG CM, and when cultured microglia were treated with an anti-STI1 antibody, MMP-9 activity decreased. Our results suggest that STI1 is secreted by microglia and favors tumor growth and invasion through the participation of MMP-9 in a PrP(C)-independent manner.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.10.025

    View details for PubMedID 22062133

  • Equinatoxin II potentiates temozolomide- and etoposide-induced glioblastoma cell death. Current topics in medicinal chemistry Kahn, S. A., Biasoli, D., Garcia, C., Geraldo, L. H., Pontes, B., Sobrinho, M., Frauches, A. C., Romão, L., Soletti, R. C., Assunção, F. d., Tovar-Moll, F., de Souza, J. M., Lima, F. R., Anderluh, G., Moura-Neto, V. 2012; 12 (19): 2082-2093


    Glioblastoma (GBM) is considered incurable due to its resistance to current cancer treatments. So far, all clinically available alternatives for treating GBM are limited, evoking the development of novel treatment strategies that can more effectively manage these tumors. Extensive effort is being dedicated to characterize the molecular basis of GBM resistance to chemotherapy and to explore novel therapeutic procedures that may improve overall survival. Cytolysins are toxins that form pores in target cell membranes, modifying ion homeostasis and leading to cell death. These pore-forming toxins might be used, therefore, to enhance the efficiency of conventional chemotherapeutic drugs, facilitating their entrance into the cell. In this study, we show that a non-cytotoxic concentration of equinatoxin II (EqTx-II), a pore-forming toxin from the sea anemone Actinia equina, potentiates the cytotoxicity induced by temozolomide (TMZ), a first-line GBM treatment, and by etoposide (VP-16), a second- or third-line GBM treatment. We also suggest that this effect is selective to GBM cells and occurs via PI3K/Akt pathway inhibition. Finally, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed that a non-cytotoxic concentration of EqTx-II potentiates the VP-16-induced inhibition of GBM growth in vivo. These combined therapies constitute a new and potentially valuable tool for GBM treatment, leading to the requirement of lower concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs and possibly reducing, therefore, the adverse effects of chemotherapy.

    View details for PubMedID 23167797

  • Antiproliferative Activity of trans-Avicennol from Zanthoxylum chiloperone var. angustifolium Against Human Cancer Stem Cells. Journal of Natural Products Cebrian-Torreron*, G., Kahn*, S. A., Legarde, N., Castellano, F., Leblank, K., Jordi , R., Molinier-Frenkel, V., Arias, A., Ferreira , M., Thirant, C., Figadère, B., Chneiweiss, H., Poupon, E., et al 2012; 75: 257
  • Alkaloids from Rutaceae: activities of canthin-6-one alkaloids and synthetic analogues on glioblastoma stem cells. MEDCHEMCOMM Cebrian-Torreron*, G., Kahn*, S. A., Ferreira, M., Thirant , C., Pontes, P., Arias, A., Figadère, B., Fournet, A., Chneiweiss, H., Poupon, E., et al 2012; 325: 63
  • Glioblastoma cells: a heterogeneous and fatal tumor interacting with the parenchyma. Life sciences Alves, T. R., Lima, F. R., Kahn, S. A., Lobo, D., Dubois, L. G., Soletti, R., Borges, H., Neto, V. M. 2011; 89 (15-16): 532-539


    Glioblastomas (GBMs) are considered to be one of the deadliest human cancers, characterized by a high proliferative rate, aggressive invasiveness and insensitivity to radio- and chemotherapy, as well as a short patient survival period. Moreover, GBMs are among the most vascularized and invasive cancers in humans. Angiogenesis in GBMs is correlated with the grade of malignancy and is inversely correlated with patient survival. One of the first steps in tumor invasions is migration. GBM cells have the ability to infiltrate and disrupt physical barriers such as basement membranes, extracellular matrix and cell junctions. The invasion process includes the overexpression of several members of a super-family of zinc-based proteinases, the Metzincin, in particular a sub-group, metalloproteinases. Another interesting aspect is that, inside the GBM tissue, there are up to 30% of microglia or macrophages. However, little is known about the immune performance and interactions of the microglia with GBMs. These singular properties of GBMs will be described here. A sub-population of cells with stem-like properties may be the source of tumors since, apparently, GBM stem cells (GSCs) are highly resistant to current cancer treatments. These cancer therapies, while killing the majority of tumor cells, ultimately fail in GBM treatment because they do not eliminate GSCs, which survive to regenerate new tumors. Finally, GBM patient prognostic has shown little improvement in decades. In this context, we will discuss how the membrane-acting toxins called cytolysins can be a potential new tool for GBM treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.lfs.2011.04.022

    View details for PubMedID 21641917

  • Tenascin-C in the extracellular matrix promotes the selection of highly proliferative and tubulogenesis-defective endothelial cells EXPERIMENTAL CELL RESEARCH Alves, T. R., da Fonseca, A. C., Nunes, S. S., da Silva, A. O., Feijo Dubois, L. G., Faria, J., Kahn, S. A., Viana, N. B., Marcondes, J., Legrand, C., Moura-Neto, V., Morandi, V. 2011; 317 (15): 2073-2085


    The extracellular matrix (ECM) contains important cues for tissue homeostasis and morphogenesis. The matricellular protein tenascin-C (TN-C) is overexpressed in remodeling tissues and cancer. In the present work, we studied the effect of different ECM-which exhibited a significant diversity in their TN-C content-in endothelial survival, proliferation and tubulogenic differentiation: autologous (endothelial) ECM devoid of TN-C, but bearing large amounts of FN; fibroblast ECM, bearing both high TN-C and FN contents; and finally, glioma-derived matrices, usually poor in FN, but very rich in TN-C. HUVECs initially adhered to the immobilized matrix produced by U373 MG glioma cells, but significantly detached and died by anoikis (50 to 80%) after 24h, as compared with cells incubated with endothelial and fibroblast matrices. Surviving endothelial cells (20 to 50%) became up to 6-fold more proliferative and formed 74-97% less tube-like structures in vitro than cells grown on non-tumoral matrices. An antibody against the EGF-like repeats of tenascin-C (TN-C) partially rescued cells from the tubulogenic defect, indicating that this molecule is responsible for the selection of highly proliferative and tubulogenic defective endothelial cells. Interestingly, by using defined substrata, in conditions that mimic glioma and normal cell ECM composition, we observed that fibronectin (FN) modulates the TN-C-induced selection of endothelial cells. Our data show that TN-C is able to modulate endothelial branching morphogenesis in vitro and, since it is prevalent in matrices of injured and tumor tissues, also suggest a role for this protein in vascular morphogenesis, in these physiological contexts.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.yexcr.2011.06.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000293682400001

    View details for PubMedID 21740900

  • Protein kinase C activity regulates d-serine availability in the brain JOURNAL OF NEUROCHEMISTRY Vargas-Lopes, C., Madeira, C., Kahn, S. A., do Couto, I. A., Bado, P., Houzel, J. C., De Miranda, J., De Freitas, M. S., Ferreira, S. T., Panizzutti, R. 2011; 116 (2): 281-290


    D-serine is a co-agonist of NMDA receptor (NMDAR) and plays important roles in synaptic plasticity mechanisms. Serine racemase (SR) is a brain-enriched enzyme that converts L-serine to D-serine. SR interacts with the protein interacting with C-kinase 1 (PICK1), which is known to direct protein kinase C (PKC) to its targets in cells. Here, we investigated whether PKC activity regulates SR activity and D-serine availability in the brain. In vitro, PKC phosphorylated SR and decreased its activity. PKC activation increased SR phosphorylation in serine residues and reduced D-serine levels in astrocyte and neuronal cultures. Conversely, PKC inhibition decreased basal SR phosphorylation and increased cellular D-serine levels. In vivo modulation of PKC activity regulated both SR phosphorylation and D-serine levels in rat frontal cortex. Finally, rats that completed an object recognition task showed decreased SR phosphorylation and increased D-serine/total serine ratios, which was markedly correlated with decreased PKC activity in both cortex and hippocampus. Results indicate that PKC phosphorylates SR in serine residues and regulates D-serine availability in the brain. This interaction may be relevant for the regulation of physiological and pathological mechanisms linked to NMDAR function.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.07102.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285394800012

    View details for PubMedID 21070240

  • On the fate of extracellular hemoglobin and heme in brain JOURNAL OF CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW AND METABOLISM Lara, F. A., Kahn, S. A., da Fonseca, A. C., Bahia, C. P., Pinho, J. P., Graca-Souza, A. V., Houzel, J. C., de Oliveira, P. L., Moura-Neto, V., Oliveira, M. F. 2009; 29 (6): 1109-1120


    Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a major cause of disability in adults worldwide. The pathophysiology of this syndrome is complex, involving both inflammatory and redox components triggered by the extravasation of blood into the cerebral parenchyma. Hemoglobin, heme, and iron released therein seem be important in the brain damage observed in ICH. However, there is a lack of information concerning hemoglobin traffic and metabolism in brain cells. Here, we investigated the fate of hemoglobin and heme in cultured neurons and astrocytes, as well as in the cortex of adult rats. Hemoglobin was made traceable by conjugation to Alexa 488, whereas a fluorescent heme analogue (tin-protoporphyrin IX) was prepared to allow heme tracking. Using fluorescence microscopy we observed that neurons were more efficient in uptake hemoglobin and heme than astrocytes. Exposure of cortical neurons to hemoglobin or heme resulted in an oxidative stress condition. Viability assays showed that neurons were more susceptible to both hemoglobin and heme toxicity than astrocytes. Together, these results show that neurons, rather than astrocytes, preferentially take up hemoglobin-derived products, indicating that these cells are actively involved in the ICH-associated brain damage.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/jcbfm.2009.34

    View details for Web of Science ID 000266451700005

    View details for PubMedID 19337276

  • STI1 promotes glioma proliferation through AUPK and PI3K pathways GLIA Erlich, R. B., Kahn, S. A., Lima, F. R., Muras, A. G., Martins, R. A., Linden, R., Chiarini, L. B., Martins, V. R., Neto, V. M. 2007; 55 (16): 1690-1698


    Gliomas are tumors derived from glia or their precursors within the central nervous system. Clinically, gliomas are divided into four grades and the glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), also referred as grade IV astrocytoma, is the most aggressive and the most common glioma in humans. The prognosis for patients with GBM remains dismal, with a median survival of 9-12 months. Despite their striking heterogeneity, common alterations in specific cellular signal transduction pathways occur within most GBMs. Previous work from our group identified the co-chaperone stress-inducible protein 1 (STI1) as a cell surface ligand for cellular prion (PrP(C)), which leads to the activation of several signal transduction pathways, some of which modulate cell survival. In the present work, we used thymidine incorporation assays to investigate the effect of STI1 upon proliferation of the human glioblastoma-derived cell line A172. Here we report that STI1 is secreted by and induces proliferation in tumor cells, an effect that is modulated by the Erk and PI3K pathways, and that, in contrast to glioma cells, STI1 does not induce proliferation of normal glia. In addition, our data suggest the involvement of PrP(C) in STI1-induced proliferation of A172 cells. These results provide initial evidence of a new functional role for STI1 on the physiology of human gliomas, and may lead to the identification of new therapeutic targets in these tumors.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/glia.20579

    View details for Web of Science ID 000250702300008

    View details for PubMedID 17886292