PDGF in gliomas: more than just a growth factor?
Platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGF-B) is a growth factor promoting and regulating cell migration, proliferation, and differentiation, involved in both developmental processes and in maintaining tissue homeostasis under strict regulation. What are the implications of prolonged or uncontrolled growth factor signaling in vivo, and when does a growth factor such as PDGF-B become an oncogene? Under experimental conditions, PDGF-B induces proliferation and causes tumor induction. It is not known whether these tumors are strictly a PDGF-B-driven proliferation of cells or associated with secondary genetic events such as acquired mutations or methylation-mediated gene silencing promoting neoplasia. If PDGF-B-driven tumorigenesis was only cellular proliferation, associated changes in gene expression would thus be correlated with proliferation and not associated with secondary events involved in tumorigenesis and neoplastic transformation such as cycle delay, DNA damage response, and cell death. Changes in gene expression might be expected to be reversible, as is PDGF-B-driven proliferation under normal circumstances. Since PDGF signaling is involved in oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation and maintenance, it is likely that PDGF-B stimulates proliferation of a pool of cells with that phenotype, and inhibition of PDGF-B signaling would result in reduced expression of oligodendrocyte-associated genes. More importantly, inhibition of PDGF signaling would be expected to result in reversion of genes induced by PDGF-B accompanied by a decrease in proliferation. However, if PDGF-B-driven tumorigenesis is more than simply a proliferation of cells, inhibition of PDGF signaling may not reverse gene expression or halt proliferation. These fundamental questions concerning PDGF-B as a potential oncogene have not been resolved.
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