The transformed astrocytes are obtained from normal mouse astrocytes undergoing gamma irradiation after TGF-alpha treatment.
In this in vitro model, transformation causes major losses of astrocyte-specific proteins and functions and the acquisition of metabolic adaptations that favor intermediate metabolites production for increased macromolecule biosynthesis.
The cells display all canonical features of cancerous transformation, immortalization, uncontrolled growth, cytogenetic alterations, and give rise to high-grade gliomas when injected into nude mice. In culture, they constitute a homogenous population of transformed astrocytes particularly suited for quantitative biochemical comparison with their normal counterparts, represented by primary cultures of astrocytes. It could similarly be applied to the evaluation of the effects of treatments aimed at correcting the consequences of cell transformation.
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