Heme Biosynthesis Factors and 5-ALA Induced Fluorescence: Analysis of mRNA and Protein Expression in Fluorescing and Non-fluorescing Gliomas

Mario Mischkulnig, Thomas Roetzer-Pejrimovsky, Daniela Lötsch-Gojo, Nina Kastner, Katharina Bruckner, Romana Prihoda, Alexandra Lang, Mauricio Martinez-Moreno, Julia Furtner, Anna Berghoff, Adelheid Woehrer, Walter Berger, Georg Widhalm, Barbara Kiesel

Publikation: Beitrag in Fachzeitschrift (peer-reviewed)Artikel in Fachzeitschrift

11 Zitate (Scopus)


Objective: The intraoperative visualization of adult-type diffuse gliomas with 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) induced fluorescence is widely used in the neurosurgical field. While visible 5-ALA induced fluorescence is found in the majority of high-grade gliomas, most low-grade gliomas lack visible fluorescence during surgery. Recently, the heme biosynthesis pathway was identified as crucial influencing factor for presence of visible fluorescence since it metabolizes 5-ALA to fluorescing Protoporphyrin IX (PpIX). However, the exact alterations within the heme biosynthesis pathway resulting in visible 5-ALA induced fluorescence in gliomas are still unclear. The aim of the present study was thus to compare the mRNA and protein expression of promising intramitochondrial heme biosynthesis enzymes/transporters in glioma tissue samples of different fluorescence behavior.

Methods: A total of 19 strongly fluorescing and 21 non-fluorescing tissue samples from neurosurgical adult-type diffuse gliomas (WHO grades II-IV) were included in the current analysis. In these samples, we investigated the mRNA expression by quantitative real time PCR and protein expression using immunohistochemistry of the intramitochondrial heme biosynthesis enzymes Coproporphyrinogen Oxidase (CPOX), Protoporphyrinogen Oxidase (PPOX), Ferrochelatase (FECH), and the transporter ATP-binding Cassette Subfamily B Member 2 (ABCG2).

Results: Regarding mRNA expression analysis, we found a significantly decreased ABCG2 expression in fluorescing specimens compared to non-fluorescing samples (p = 0.001), whereas no difference in CPOX, PPOX and FECH was present. With respect to protein expression, significantly higher levels of CPOX (p = 0.005), PPOX (p < 0.01) and FECH (p = 0.003) were detected in fluorescing samples. Similar to mRNA expression analysis, the protein expression of ABCG2 (p = 0.001) was significantly lower in fluorescing samples.

Conclusion: Distinct alterations of the analyzed heme biosynthesis factors were found primarily on protein level. Our data indicate that heme biosynthesis pathway activity in general is enhanced in fluorescing gliomas with upregulation of PpIX generating enzymes and decreased ABCG2 mediated PpIX efflux outweighing the also increased further metabolization of PpIX to heme. Intramitochondrial heme biosynthesis factors thus constitute promising pharmacological targets to optimize intraoperative 5-ALA fluorescence visualization of usually non-fluorescing tumors such as low-grade gliomas.

Seiten (von - bis)907442
FachzeitschriftFrontiers in Medicine
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 18 Mai 2022

ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete

  • Allgemeine Medizin


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