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Analytical Cellular Pathology
Volume 34 (2011), Issue 1-2, Pages 21-33

Nuclear Position and Shape Deformation of Chromosome 8 Territories in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma

Sylvia Timme,1 Eberhard Schmitt,2 Stefan Stein,2 Jutta Schwarz-Finsterle,2 Jenny Wagner,2 Axel Walch,3 Martin Werner,1 Michael Hausmann,2 and Thorsten Wiech1,4

1Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
2Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
3Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Pathology, Neuherberg, Germany
4Centre of Chronic Immunodeficiency (CCI), University Medical Center Freiburg and University of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cell type specific radial positioning of chromosome territories (CTs) and their sub-domains in the interphase seem to have functional relevance in non-neoplastic human nuclei, while much less is known about nuclear architecture in carcinoma cells and its development during tumor progression. We analyzed the 3D-architecture of the chromosome 8 territory (CT8) in carcinoma and corresponding non-neoplastic ductal pancreatic epithelium. Fluorescence-in-situ-hybridization (FISH) with whole chromosome painting (WCP) probes on sections from formalin-fixed, paraffin wax-embedded tissues from six patients with ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas was used. Radial positions and shape parameters of CT8 were analyzed by 3D-microscopy. None of the parameters showed significant inter-individual changes. CT8 was localized in the nuclear periphery in carcinoma cells and normal ductal epithelial cells. Normalized volume and surface of CT8 did not differ significantly. In contrast, the normalized roundness was significantly lower in carcinoma cells, implying an elongation of neoplastic cell nuclei. Unexpectedly, radial positioning of CT8, a dominant parameter of nuclear architecture, did not change significantly when comparing neoplastic with non-neoplastic cells. A significant deformation of CT8, however, accompanies nuclear atypia of carcinoma cells. This decreased roundness of CTs may reflect the genomic and transcriptional alterations in carcinoma.