Neuroblastoma Cell Lines Showing Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypes

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Neuroblastoma is a tumor that is derived from the neural crest. Recent studies demonstrated that several human neuroblastoma cell lines exhibit at least three morphologic types: neuroblastic (N)-type, substrate-adhesive (S)-type and intermediate (I)-type cells. However, the origin of the S-type cells has not been clearly identified. In this study, the expressions of smooth muscle-specific proteins (desmin, α-smooth muscle actin, basic calponin and the smooth muscle myosin heavy-chain isoforms of SM1 and SM2) in three parent and four cloned neuroblastoma cell lines, composed of S-type cells, were examined by indirect immunofluorescence, Western blot and/or by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Desmin was found in two of the seven cell lines, and α-smooth muscle actin and basic calponin were detected in all of seven of the cell lines. In three parent cell lines and one cloned cell line composed of N-type cells, none of three smooth muscle-specific proteins were detected. In smooth muscle myosin heavy-chain isoforms, SM1 was detected in two parent cell lines composed of S-type cells (MP-N-MS and KP-N-YS) by immunofluorescence, Western blot and/or by RT-PCR, whereas the SM2 isoform was detected in one parent cell line (MP-N-MS) by RT-PCR. These findings indicate that S-type cells have either the immature or mature smooth muscle cell phenotype, and neural crest cells very likely have the ability of to differentiate into smooth muscle cells in the human system.

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