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PPAR Research
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7175067, 8 pages
Research Article

Pioglitazone Effect on Glioma Stem Cell Lines: Really a Promising Drug Therapy for Glioblastoma?

1School of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milano-Bicocca, Via Cadore 48, 20900 Monza, Italy
2Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience, University of Milano-Bicocca, Via Cadore 48, 20900 Monza, Italy
3NeuroMI, Milan Center of Neuroscience, Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, San Gerardo Hospital, Via Pergolesi 33, 20052 Monza, Italy

Received 24 March 2016; Accepted 5 May 2016

Academic Editor: Elisabetta Mueller

Copyright © 2016 Chiara Cilibrasi et al. 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.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) represents one of the most frequent malignant brain tumors. Current therapies do not provide real solutions to this pathology. Their failure can be ascribed to a cell subpopulation with stem-like properties called glioma stem cells (GSCs). Therefore, new therapeutic strategies GSC-targeted are needed. PPARγ, a nuclear receptor involved in lipid metabolism, has already been indicated as a promising target for antineoplastic therapies. Recent studies have reported that synthetic PPARγ agonists, already in clinical use for the treatment of type II diabetes, exhibit antineoplastic effects in a wide range of malignant tumor cells, including glioma cells. We investigated the effect of the synthetic PPARγ agonist Pioglitazone on viability, proliferation, morphology, and differentiation in six GSC lines isolated from GBM patients. We also analyzed Pioglitazone-induced changes in transcriptional levels of Wnt/β catenin related genes. Results showed that response to Pioglitazone was heterogeneous inducing an evident decrease of cell viability and proliferation only in a subset of GSC lines. We did not find any sign of cell differentiation neither observing cell morphology nor analyzing the expression of stemness and differentiation markers. Moreover, Wnt/β signaling pathway was only mildly affected from a transcriptional point of view after Pioglitazone exposure.