Research Papers:

Novel strategies of Raman imaging for brain tumor research

Imiela Anna, Polis Bartosz, Polis Lech and Abramczyk Halina _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:85290-85310. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19668

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Imiela Anna1, Polis Bartosz2, Polis Lech2 and Abramczyk Halina1

1Lodz University of Technology, Institute of Applied Radiation Chemistry, Laboratory of Laser Molecular Spectroscopy, 93-590 Lodz, Poland

2Polish Mother’s Memorial Hospital Research Institute, Department of Neurosurgery and Neurotraumatology, 3-338 Lodz, Poland

Correspondence to:

Abramczyk Halina, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Raman spectroscopy, Raman imaging, brain tumor, CNS, iodine number

Received: January 21, 2017     Accepted: April 29, 2017     Published: July 28, 2017


Raman diagnostics and imaging have been shown to be an effective tool for the analysis and discrimination of human brain tumors from normal structures. Raman spectroscopic methods have potential to be applied in clinical practice as they allow for identification of tumor margins during surgery. In this study, we investigate medulloblastoma (grade IV WHO) (n= 5), low-grade astrocytoma (grades I-II WHO) (n =4), ependymoma (n=3) and metastatic brain tumors (n= 1) and the tissue from the negative margins used as normal controls. We compare a high grade medulloblastoma, low grade astrocytoma and non-tumor samples from human central nervous system (CNS) tissue. Based on the properties of the Raman vibrational features and Raman images we provide a real–time feedback method that is label-free to monitor tumor metabolism that reveals reprogramming of biosynthesis of lipids, proteins, DNA and RNA. Our results indicate marked metabolic differences between low and high grade brain tumors. We discuss molecular mechanisms causing these metabolic changes, particularly lipid alterations in malignant medulloblastoma and low grade gliomas that may shed light on the mechanisms driving tumor recurrence thereby revealing new approaches for the treatment of malignant glioma. We have found that the high-grade tumors of central nervous system (medulloblastoma) exhibit enhanced level of β-sheet conformation and down-regulated level of α-helix conformation when comparing against normal tissue. We have found that almost all tumors studied in the paper have increased Raman signals of nucleic acids. This increase can be interpreted as increased DNA/RNA turnover in brain tumors. We have shown that the ratio of Raman intensities I2930/I2845 at 2930 and 2845 cm-1 is a good source of information on the ratio of lipid and protein contents. We have found that the ratio reflects the different lipid and protein contents of cancerous brain tissue compared to the non-tumor tissue. We found that levels of the saturated fatty acids were significantly reduced in the high grade medulloblastoma samples compared with non-tumor brain samples and low grade astrocytoma. Differences were also noted in the n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) content between medulloblastoma and non-tumor brain samples. The content of the oleic acid (OA) was significantly smaller in almost all brain high grade brain tumors than that observed in the control samples. It indicates that the fatty acid composition of human brain tumors differs from that found in non-tumor brain tissue. The iodine number NI for the normal brain tissue is 60. For comparison OA has 87, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 464, α-linolenic acid (ALA) 274. The high grade tumors have the iodine numbers between that for palmitic acid, stearic acid, arachidic acid (NI=0) and oleic acid (NI=87). Most low grade tumors have NI similar to that of OA. The iodine number for arachidonic acid (AA) (NI=334) is much higher than those observed for all studied samples.

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