Time-lapse phenotyping of invasive glioma cells ex vivo reveals subtype-specific movement patterns guided by tumor core signaling

Artem Fayzullin, Frode A. Tuvnes, Håvard K. Skjellegrind, Jinan Behnan, Awais A. Mughal, Iver A. Langmoen, Einar O. Vik-Mo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The biology of glioblastoma invasion and its mechanisms are poorly understood. We demonstrate using time-lapse microscopy that grafting of glioblastoma (GBM) tumorspheres into rodent brain slices results in experimental ex vivo tumors with invasive properties that recapitulate the invasion observed after orthotopic transplantation into the rodent brain. The migratory movements and mitotic patterns were clearly modified by signals extrinsic to the invading cells. The cells migrated away from the tumorspheres, and removal of the spheres reduced the directed invasive movement. The cell cultures contained different populations of invasive cells that had distinct morphology and invasive behavior patterns. Grafts of the most invasive GBM culture contained 91±8% cells with an invasive phenotype, characterized by small soma with a distinct leading process. Conversely, the majority of cells in less invasive GBM grafts were phenotypically heterogeneous: only 6.3±4.1% of the cells had the invasive phenotype. Grafts of highly and moderately invasive cultures had different proportions of cells that advanced into the brain slice parenchyma during the observation period: 89.2±2.2% and 23.1±6.8%, respectively. In grafts with moderately invasive properties, most of the cells (76.8±6.8%) invading the surrounding brain tissue returned to the tumor bulk or stopped centrifugal migration. Our data suggest that the invasion of individual GBM tumors can be conditioned by the prevalence of a cell fraction with particular invasive morphology and by signaling between the tumor core and invasive cells. These findings can be important for the development of new therapeutic strategies that target the invasive GBM cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-213
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 10 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ex vivo invasion
  • Glioblastoma
  • Time-lapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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