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Open Access Research article

Id4 and FABP7 are preferentially expressed in cells with astrocytic features in oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas

Yu Liang1*, Andrew W Bollen12, M Kelly Nicholas3 and Nalin Gupta1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Neurological Surgery, Brain Tumor Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

2 Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

3 Department of Neurology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Clinical Pathology 2005, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6890-5-6

Published: 15 July 2005



Oligodendroglioma (ODG) and oligoastrocytoma (OAC) are diffusely infiltrating primary brain tumors whose pathogenesis remains unclear. We previously identified a group of genes whose expression was inversely correlated with survival in a cohort of patients with glioblastoma (GBM), and some of these genes are also reportedly expressed in ODG and OAC. We examined the expression patterns and localization of these survival-associated genes in ODG and OAC in order to analyze their possible roles in the oncogenesis of these two tumor types.


We used UniGene libraries derived from GBM and ODG specimens to examine the expression levels of the transcripts for each of the 50 GBM survival-associated genes. We used immunohistochemistry and cDNA microarrays to examine expression of selected survival-associated genes and Id4, a gene believed to control the timing of oligodendrocyte development. The expression of FABP7 and Id4 and the survival of patients with ODG and OAC were also analyzed.


Transcripts of most survival-associated genes as well as Id4 were present in both GBM and ODG tumors, whereas protein expression of Id4 and one of the survival-associated genes, brain-type fatty acid-binding protein (FABP7), was present in cells with astrocytic features, including reactive and neoplastic astrocytes, but not in neoplastic oligodendrocytes. Id4 was co-expressed with FABP7 in microgemistocytes in ODG and in neoplastic astrocytes in OAC. Id4 and FABP7 expression, however, did not correlate with the clinical outcome of patients with ODG or OAC tumors.


Expression of Id4 and some of our previously identified GBM survival-associated genes is present in developing or mature oligodendrocytes. However, protein expression of Id4 and FABP7 in GBM, ODG, and OAC suggests that this group of functionally important genes might demonstrate two patterns of expression in these glioma subtypes: one group is universally expressed in glioma cells, and the other group of genes is expressed primarily in neoplastic astrocytes but not in neoplastic oligodendrocytes. Differential protein expression of these two groups of genes in ODG and OAC may be related to the cellular origins and the histological features of the neoplastic cells.