Quantitative imaging of magnesium distribution at single-cell resolution in brain tumors and infiltrating tumor cells with secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS)
Spectrometry, Mass, Secondary Ion
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the deadliest forms of human brain tumors. The infiltrative pattern of growth of these tumors includes the spread of individual and/or clusters of tumor cells at some distance from the main tumor mass in parts of the brain protected by an intact blood-brain-barrier. Pathophysiological studies of GBM could be greatly enhanced by analytical techniques capable of in situ single-cell resolution measurements of infiltrating tumor cells. Magnesium homeostasis is an area of active investigation in high grade gliomas. In the present study, we have used the F98 rat glioma as a model of human GBM and an elemental/isotopic imaging technique of secondary ion mass spectrometry, a CAMECA IMS-3f ion microscope, for studying Mg distribution with single-cell resolution in freeze-dried brain tissue cryosections. Quantitative observations were made on tumor cells in the main tumor mass, contiguous brain tissue, and infiltrating tumor cells in adjacent normal brain. The brain tissue contained a significantly lower total Mg concentration of 4.70 ± 0.93 mmol/kg wet weight (mean ± SD) in comparison to 11.64 ± 1.96 mmol/kg wet weight in tumor cells of the main tumor mass and 10.72 ± 1.76 mmol/kg wet weight in infiltrating tumor cells (p < 0.05). The nucleus of individual tumor cells contained elevated levels of bound Mg. These observations have established that there was enhanced influx and increased binding of Mg in tumor cells. They provide strong support for further investigation of altered Mg homeostasis and activation of Mg-transporting channels in GBMs as possible therapeutic targets.