Astrocytomas, the most prevalent primary brain tumors, can be divided by histology and malignancy levels into four following types: pilocytic astrocytoma (grade I), diffuse fibrillary astrocytoma (grade II), anaplastic astrocytoma (grade III), and glioblastoma multiforme (grade IV). For high grade astrocytomas (grade III and grade IV), blood vessels formation is considered as the most important property. The distribution of cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) in blood vessels and tumor tissue of astrocytoma is still controversial. Asrocytoma tissues were collected from 45 patients under the condition of tumor-related neurosurgical operation. The expression of CB1 and CB2 receptors was assessed using immunofluorescence, quantitative real-time RT-PCR and western blotting. The results indicated an increased expression of CB1 receptors in tumor tissue. There was a significant difference in the mount of CB2 receptors in blood vessels. More was observed in the grade III and glioblastoma (grade IV) than astrocytoma of grade II and control. This study suggested that, the expression increase of cannabinoid receptors is an index for astrocytoma malignancy and can be targeted as a therapeutic approach for the inhibition of astrocytoma growth among patients.
Keywords: Angiogenesis, Astrocytomas, Cannabinoid receptors, Glioblastoma multiforme