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Correlation between the progressive cytoplasmic expression of a novel small heat shock protein (Hsp16.2) and malignancy in brain tumors

BMC Cancer
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2407-7-233
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Background Small heat shock proteins are molecular chaperones that protect proteins against stress-induced aggregation. They have also been found to have anti-apoptotic activity and to play a part in the development of tumors. Recently, we identified a new small heat shock protein, Hsp16.2 which displayed increased expression in neuroectodermal tumors. Our aim was to investigate the expression of Hsp16.2 in different types of brain tumors and to correlate its expression with the histological grade of the tumor. Methods Immunohistochemistry with a polyclonal antibody to Hsp16.2 was carried out on formalin-fixed, paraffin-wax-embedded sections using the streptavidin-biotin method. 91 samples were examined and their histological grade was defined. According to the intensity of Hsp16.2 immunoreactivity, low (+), moderate (++), high (+++) or none (-) scores were given. Immunoblotting was carried out on 30 samples of brain tumors using SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western-blotting. Results Low grade (grades 1–2) brain tumors displayed low cytoplasmic Hsp16.2 immunoreactivity, grade 3 tumors showed moderate cytoplasmic staining, while high grade (grade 4) tumors exhibited intensive cytoplasmic Hsp16.2 staining. Immunoblotting supported the above mentioned results. Normal brain tissue acted as a negative control for the experiment, since the cytoplasm did not stain for Hsp16.2. There was a positive correlation between the level of Hsp16.2 expression and the level of anaplasia in different malignant tissue samples. Conclusion Hsp16.2 expression was directly correlated with the histological grade of brain tumors, therefore Hsp16.2 may have relevance as becoming a possible tumor marker.

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