Oligodendrocyte lineage genes (OLIG) as molecular markers for human glial brain tumors

Q. Richard Lu, John K. Park, Elizabeth Noll, Jennifer A. Chan, John Alberta, Dongin Yuk, M. Garcia Alzamora, David N. Louis, Charles D. Stiles, David H. Rowitch, Peter M. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


The most common primary tumors of the human brain are thought to be of glial cell origin. However, glial cell neoplasms cannot be fully classified by cellular morphology or with conventional markers for astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, or their progenitors. Recent insights into central nervous system tumorigenesis suggest that novel molecular markers might be found among factors that have roles in glial development. Oligodendrocyte lineage genes (Olig 1/2) encode basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors. In the rodent central nervous system, they are expressed exclusively in oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte progenitors, and Olig 1 can promote formation of an chondroitin sulfate proteoglycon-positive glial progenitor. Here we show that human OLIG genes are expressed strongly in oligodendroglioma, contrasting absent or low expression in astrocytoma. Our data provide evidence that neoplastic cells of oligodendroglioma resemble oligodendrocytes or their progenitor cells and may derive from cells of this lineage. They further suggest the diagnostic potential of OLIG markers to augment identification of oligodendroglial tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10851-10856
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 11 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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