The expression of the epitope H recognized by the monoclonal antibody H is higher in astrocytomas compared to anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas
The epitope H contains an O-linked N-acetylglucosamine residue in a specific conformation and/or environment recognized by the monoclonal antibody H (mAbH). mAbH stains two bands with Mr x10-3 of 209 and 62 in lysates of cultured rat astrocytes. In normal human brains epitope H is absent from the overwhelming majority of normal astrocytes and only sparse reactivity is observed, confined mostly to fibrous astrocytes. Upregulation of the epitope H takes place in reactive astrocytes. In the present study we used the mAbH to investigate the immunohistochemical expression of the epitope H in 41 cases of astrocytic tumors including 19 cases of astrocytomas, 8 cases of anaplastic astrocytomas and 14 cases of glioblastomas. Seven out of 19 cases (37%) of astrocytomas showed weak staining, 10 cases (53%) moderate staining and 2 cases (10%) intense staining. Two out of 8 cases (25%) of anaplastic astrocytomas appeared negative, 3 cases (37.5%) showed weak staining and 3 cases (37.5%) moderate staining. Four out of 14 cases (28.5) of glioblastomas appeared negative, 7 cases (50%) showed weak staining, 2 cases (14%) showed moderate staining and only one case (7.5%) showed intense staining. There was a statistically significant elevation of the expression of the epitope H in astrocytomas compared to anaplastic astrocytomas and glioblastomas (p=0.047). These results indicate that the expression of the epitope H decreases in parallel with the increase of the grade of astrocytic tumors from low to higher grade neoplasms. This could be of interest for predicting the progression of an astrocytic tumor since it is documented that astrocytomas progress to tumors of higher grade of malignancy. Further investigation of the antigens bearing the epitope H might help to gain further insight into the mechanisms which regulate the progression of astrocytic tumors and to examine the relevance of the mAbH staining with respect to the prognosis of these neoplasms.