Research Papers:

Morphological and immunophenotypic characterization of perivascular interstitial cells in human glioma: Telocytes, pericytes, and mixed immunophenotypes

Lubov Mitrofanova, Anton Hazratov, Boris Galkovsky, Andrey Gorshkov, Danila Bobkov, Dmitry Gulyaev and Evgeny Shlyakhto

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Oncotarget. 2020; 11:322-346. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27340

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Lubov Mitrofanova1, Anton Hazratov1, Boris Galkovsky1, Andrey Gorshkov1,2, Danila Bobkov2,3, Dmitry Gulyaev4 and Evgeny Shlyakhto5

1 Almazov National Medical Research Centre, Pathomorphology Research Laboratory, St. Petersburg, Russia

2 Smorodintsev Research Institute of Influenza, Laboratory of Intracellular Signaling and Transport, St. Petersburg, Russia

3 Institute of Cytology of the Russian Academy of Science, Laboratory of Cell Biology in Culture, St. Petersburg, Russia

4 Almazov National Medical Research Centre, Research Department of Neurosurgery, St. Petersburg, Russia

5 Almazov National Medical Research Centre, General Director, St. Petersburg, Russia

Correspondence to:

Lubov Mitrofanova,email: [email protected]

Keywords: telocytes; pericytes; confocal microscopy; primary culture of glioma telocytes; glioblastoma

Received: June 05, 2019     Accepted: October 26, 2019     Published: January 28, 2020


Telocytes (Tcs) and pericytes (Pcs) are two types of perivascular interstitial cell known to be widespread in various organs and tissues, including the brain. We postulated that Tcs and Pcs may be involved in glioblastoma (GBM) neovascularization.


Morphological study of Tc and Pc roles in GBM.

Materials and Methods

Samples from 15 GBM, 10 diffuse astrocytoma, as well as 5 control samples were studied. We used immunohistochemistry (IHC) with antibodies (Abs) to GFAP, Ki-67, CD117, NeuroD1, NG2, CD34, and SMA. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) of 4 glioma tissue cultures and 4 GBM sections was performed with GFAP, CD117, CD34/connexin43, NeuroD1/connexin43, CD34/NG2 and CD13/CD117 Abs. Electron microscopy (EM) of GBM was performed in 4 cases.


The presence of Tcs and Pcs was shown in GBM (IHC, EM, CLSM) and glioma cultures (CLSM). The Tc immunophenotype was CD117+/CD34+/connexin43+/NeuroD1+. The Pc immunophenotype was SMA+/NG2+/CD13+. The number of Tcs in GBM specimens was 10 times higher than in astrocytoma. We also identified CD13/CD117 and CD34/NG2 co-expressing cells in GBM blood vessels.


Four immunophenotypes were found in GBM vessels, corresponding to endotheliocytes, Pcs, Tcs, and a mixed Pc/Tc immunophenotype. These and forthcoming improvements in our understanding of the origin and function of Tcs, including their relationship with Pcs, are necessary steps in oncology. Study of these cell types (Tcs, Pcs) and their roles in brain tumor oncogenesis will likely enable improved targeted therapies and support development of new forms of anti-neoplastic drugs.

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