We previously characterized a genetically engineered mouse astrocytoma model with embryonic astrocyte-speciflc, activated 12V-Ha-RAS (GFAP-RAS) transgenesis. The GFAP-RAS line Ras-B8 appears normal at birth, but 50% of mice die by 4 months from low- and high-grade astrocytomas. We examined the development and progression of astrocytomas in the Ras-B8 genetically engineered mouse. At embryonic day 16.5 (E16.5), there were no pathological differences compared to control littermates, aside from transgene expression. Diffuse astroglial hyperplasia was the first distinguishing feature in the 1-week-old Ras-B8 mice; however, these astrocytes were not transformed in vitro or in vivo. From 3 to 8 weeks the incidence of low-grade astrocytomas progressively increased with 85% of 12-week-old mice harboring low-or high-grade astrocytomas, the latter characterized by increased proliferation, nuclear atypia, and angiogenesis. Tp53 mutations were detected in both astrocytoma grades, with high-grade astrocytomas expressing elevated levels of epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor, plus decreased levels of PTEN and p16, similar to human astrocytomas. We postulate that expression of 12V-Ha-RAS in astroglial precursors induces astroglial hyperplasia, but transformation and subsequent progression requires additional molecular alterations resulting from aberrant activated p21-RAS. Of interest, many of these acquired alterations occur in human astrocytomas, further validating GFAP-RAS as a useful model for studying astrocytoma development and progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-867
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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