Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Joseph H. McCarty

Committee Member

Dr. Gary E. Gallick

Committee Member

Dr. Frederick F. Lang

Committee Member

Dr. Oliver Bogler

Committee Member

Dr. Vidya Gopalakrishnan


In this study we aimed to determine the functional roles for αvβ8 integrin in astrocytoma-induced angiogenesis. These studies originate from our analyses of αvβ8 integrin in developmental brain angiogenesis. αv and β8 knockout (KO) mice develop brain-specific vascular phenotypes that resemble vascular pathologies observed in the malignant astrocytoma, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Indeed, a murine xenograft model of astrocytoma suggested a role for the integrin in glioma-induced angiogenesis. Primary mouse astroglia were cultured from wild type (WT) and β8 KO neonates and were immortalized (HPV:E6/E7) and transformed (HRas:G12V). WT and β8 KO transformed astroglia were intracranially injected into athymic mice. WT tumors displayed pathological features of grade III astrocytomas, whereas β8 KO tumors resembled grade IV GBMs. KO tumors contained widespread edema and hemorrhage as well as pathological angiogenesis, as assessed by quantitation of microvascular density and blood vessel morphology. Additionally, exogenous expression of β8 integrin in β8 KO transformed astroglia resolved the pathologies observed in KO tumors giving further credence to the idea that loss of αvβ8 integrin expression correlates with tumorigenic potential of oncogene-transformed astroglia. To compliment our mouse model, several established human glioma cell lines were characterized for expression of αvβ8 integrin protein. Some of the cell lines displayed low expression of αvβ8 integrin, whereas others showed high levels, as compared to non-malignant human astrocytes. Intracranial implantation of high and low β8 integrin-expressing human glioma cell lines resulted in tumors exhibiting similar phenotypes to those observed in the mouse model; low expressers were marked by vascular pathologies indicative of β8 KO mouse tumors. Upon overexpression of β8 integrin in a low β8 integrin-expressing human glioma cell line, angiogenic pathologies were largely resolved. Moreover, intracranially injected αvHI- and αvLO-sorted GBM stem cells (GSCs) resulted in significantly different tumor sizes, where those GSCs endogenously expressing low levels of αv integrin formed two to three fold larger tumors. Furthermore, lentiviral knockdown of β8 integrin in transformed human astrocytes formed tumors that strikingly recapitulated the characteristics of the murine β8-/- tumors, exhibiting a significant increase in microvascular density leading to decreased overall survival. A paracrine mechanism was discovered involving endothelial cell homeostatic control governed by canonical TGFβ signaling initiated by αvβ8 integrin’s role in the latent cytokine’s activation. Diminished TGFβ signaling in tumor-associated endothelial cells promoted increased angiogenesis and decreased overall survival as a result of αvβ8 integrin’s loss on the tumor cell. Collectively, these data suggest an important functional role for αvβ8 integrin in glioma angiogenesis.


Glioma; αvβ8 Integrin; Angiogenesis; TGFβ