Phenotypic and molecular characterization of inducible human neuroblastoma cell lines

Herman Yeger*, Reuben Baumal, Gladys Pawlin, Patricia Tonin, Lynette Nissen, Chaim Kaplinsky, M. James Phillips

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two new neuroblastoma (NB) cell lines, NUB-6 and NUB-7, were established from recurrent and primary NB tumours respectively and identified conclusively as NB by their phenotypic characteristics, catecholamine production and N-myc amplification. The cell lines could be distinguished on the bases of distinctive growth patterns in mono-layer culture and semi-solid media (collagen gel and agarose), neurite formation and their response to four classes of growth and differentiation modulators. The NUB-6 cell line consisted of two distinct cell subtypes, small typical neuroblasts and larger spheroid-forming cells, while NUB-7 was homogeneously neuroblastic. Class-I agents (dibutyryl cyclic AMP [dbcAMP], butyrate, and papaverine) inhibited growth of both cell lines, while only dbcAMP stimulated the formation of short neurites by NUB-6 neuroblast cells in monolayer culture and collagen. Of the class-II agents (vitamins), retinoic acid inhibited growth of both cell lines and stimulated formation of long neurites by NUB-6 cells and NUB-7 cells in later passages. In contrast, vitamin E inhibited growth of NUB-6 and late-passage NUB-7, but stimulated early passage NUB-7. The class III agent (nerve growth factor) resembled vitamin E. The class-IV agents (interferons; rIFN-α2a and rIFN-γ1) inhibited growth of both cell lines in monolayer culture and agarose, but stimulated NUB-6 neuroblasts and early passage NUB-7 cells to form long neurites. Thus phenotypically distinct NB cell lines were established in vitro and shown to be differentially influenced by various growth and differentiation modulators. The potent effect of IFN suggests a role for these modulators in NB behaviour in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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