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56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V. (DGNC)
3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V.
Société Française de Neurochirurgie

07. bis 11.05.2005, Strasbourg

The coagulation factor thrombin augments proliferation and causes increases in intracellular calcium in human glioblastoma cells via protease-activated receptors type 1 (PAR1)

Der Gerinnungsfaktor Thrombin erhöht die Proliferation und bewirkt einen Anstieg des intrazellulären Kalziums in humanen Glioblastomzellen über Protease-aktivierte Rezeptoren Typ 1

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  • corresponding author S. A. Kuhn - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Klinikum der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena; Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin
  • R. Kalff - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Klinikum der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena
  • U. K. Hanisch - Institut für Neuropathologie, Klinikum der Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen; Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Société Française de Neurochirurgie. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), 3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC). Strasbourg, 07.-11.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. DocP164

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 4, 2005

© 2005 Kuhn et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.




Patients with malignant gliomas often suffer from thrombembolic events, suggesting a causal link between these tumors and disturbed hemostasis. Thrombin is well known as a coagulation factor but can also act on various cells via protease-activated receptors (PAR). In this study, we investigated the impact of thrombin on biological aggressiveness of malignant gliomas.


To study actively transcribed PAR genes, we isolated mRNA from U373 glioblastoma cells followed by reverse transcription into cDNA and PCR with primers for all human PAR’s. GADPH, mock RNA, and water served as controls. Immunochemistry on U373 cells was performed with polyclonal PAR1 antibodies visualized by fluorescent secondary antibodies. The function of PAR1 was tested by calcium imaging in Fura-2-loaded cells at 340 nm and 380 nm, respectively, after short application of thrombin and thrombin inhibitors. To determine the influence on glioma proliferation, thrombin, thrombin inhibitors, as well as PAR-agonistic and antagonistic peptides were added to glioblastoma cells for 24 hours. The WST-1 and the 5-bromo-2’-deoxy-uridine incorporation assays were employed to measure effects on glioma metabolism and DNA synthesis.


First, U373 glioblastoma cells expressed mRNA for PAR1 but not for other PAR types. Second, immunochemistry proved a cluster-like expression of PAR1 protein on the cellular membrane. Third, stimulation of the cells with thrombin resulted in a dose-dependent increase of intracellular calcium. The thrombin inhibitors, hirudin and PPACK suppressed the rise of intracellular calcium. Fourth, addition of thrombin to glioblastoma cells for 24 hours significantly increased their metabolism by up to 80% over untreated controls, as determined by WST-1 conversion. This effect could be blocked by thrombin inhibitors. Fifth, application of thrombin also significantly increased DNA synthesis, as measured by incorporation of BrdU. This increase was similarly suppressed by thrombin inhibitors. Moreover, a stimulation of tumor cells with PAR1 agonist peptide resulted in enhanced proliferation, which could be prevented by coincubation with PAR1 antagonist peptide. In contrast, treatments with agonist peptides for other PAR’s did not influence the proliferation at all.


We learned from these experiments, that aggressive biology of human U373 glioblastoma cells is clearly influenced by thrombin via action on protease-activated receptors type 1.