Expression of oligodendroglial and astrocytic lineage markers in diffuse gliomas: Use of YKL-40, ApoE, ASCL1, and NKX2-2

Audrey Rousseau, Catherine L. Nutt, Rebecca A. Betensky, A. John Iafrate, Moonjoo Han, Keith L. Ligon, David H. Rowitch, David N. Louis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phenotypic heterogeneity of astrocytic and oligodendroglial tumor cells complicates establishing accurate diagnostic criteria, and lineage-specific markers would facilitate diagnosis of glioma subtypes. Based on data from the literature and from expression microarrays, we selected molecules relevant to gliogenesis and glial lineage specificity and then used immunohistochemistry to assess expression of these molecules in 55 diffuse gliomas, including 8 biphasic oligoastrocytomas, 21 oligodendrogliomas (all with 1p/19qloss), 21 astrocytomas, and 5 glioblastomas. For the astrocytic lineage markers (GFAP, YKL-40, and ApoE), GFAP expression was significantly higher in the astrocytic component of oligoastrocytomas compared with the oligodendroglial part; similar patterns were detected for YKL-40 and ApoE, although the differences were not significant. GFAP, YKL-40, and ApoE reliably distinguished grade II-III oligodendrogliomas from grade II-IV astrocytomas (p < 0.0001, p = 0.002, and p < 0.0001, respectively). Among the oligodendroglial lineage markers (Olig2, Sox10, ASCL1, and NKX2-2), ASCL1 and NKX2-2 displayed significantly different immunostaining between oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas (p = 0.017 and 0.004, respectively), but none clearly differentiated between the 2 glial populations of oligoastrocytomas. In addition to GFAP, therefore, YKL-40, ApoE, ASCL1, and NKX2-2 represent promising tumor cell markers to distinguish oligodendrogliomas from astrocytomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1149-1156
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • ASCL1
  • ApoE
  • Astrocytoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • NKX2-2
  • Oligodendroglioma
  • YKL-40

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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