Open Access Open Badges Research article

Expression of delta-catenin is associated with progression of human astrocytoma

Wang MingHao1, Dong Qianze2, Zhang Di2 and Wang YunJie1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurosurgery, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang 110001, PR China

2 Department of Pathology, First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, PR China

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BMC Cancer 2011, 11:514  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-514

Published: 12 December 2011



δ-Catenin (CTNND2), which encodes a scaffold protein in humans, has been found in a few malignancies. However, the expression pattern and contribution of δ-catenin to astrocytoma progression are unclear.


We investigated δ-catenin expression in human astrocytoma samples and its function in astrocytoma cell lines using immunohistochemistry, siRNA knockdown, transfection, MTT, transwell migration and Rac1 pulldown techniques.


δ-Catenin protein expression was detected in cytoplasm of astrocytoma cells by immunohistochemistry. Analysis showed that grade I astrocytoma (0%, 0/11) and glial cells from normal brain tissue exhibited negative staining. δ-Catenin expression was significantly higher in grade III-IV (35%, 29/84) compared to grade II astrocytoma cells (18%, 11/61); p < 0.01). In addition, CTNND2 overexpression promoted proliferation, invasion and Rac1 activity of U251 astrocytoma cells. Treatment of δ-catenin-transfected cells with a Rac1 inhibitor decreased Rac1 activity and invasion. δ-Catenin knockdown in U87 glioblastoma cell decreased cell proliferation, invasion and Rac1 activity.


The results suggest that δ-catenin expression is associated with the malignant progression of astrocytoma and promotes astrocytoma cell invasion through upregulation of Rac1 activity. δ-Catenin expression levels may serve as a useful marker of the biological behavior of astrocytoma cells.