Matrix Hyaluronic Acid and Hypoxia Influence a CD133+Subset of Patient-Derived Glioblastoma Cells

Jee Wei Emily Chen, Sarah Leary, Victoria Barnhouse, Jann N. Sarkaria, Brendan A.C. Harley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Glioblastoma (GBM) displays diffusive invasion throughout the brain microenvironment, which is partially responsible for its short median survival rate (<15 months). Stem-like subpopulations (GBM stem-like cells, GSCs) are believed to play a central role in therapeutic resistance and poor patient prognosis. Given the extensive tissue remodeling and processes such as vessel co-option and regression that occur in the tumor microenvironment, it is essential to understand the role of metabolic constraint such as hypoxia on GBM cell populations. This work describes the use of a multidimensional gelatin hydrogel to culture patient-derived GBM cells, to evaluate the influence of hypoxia and the inclusion brain-mimetic hyaluronic acid on the relative activity of GSCs versus overall GBM cells. Notably, CD133+ GBM cell fraction is crucial for robust formation of tumor spheroids in multidimensional cultures. In addition, while the relative size of the CD133+ GBM subpopulation increased in response to both hypoxia and matrix-bound hyaluronan, we did not observe cell subtype-specific changes in invasion signaling pathway activation. Taken together, this study highlights the potential of biomimetic culture systems for resolving changes in the population dynamics and behavior of subsets of GBM specimens for the future development of precision medicine applications. This study describes a gelatin hydrogel platform to investigate the role of extracellular hyaluronic acid and hypoxia on the behavior of a CD133+ subset of cells within patient-derived glioblastoma (GBM) specimens. We report that the relative expansion of the CD133+ GBM stem cell-like population is strongly responsive to extracellular cues, highlighting the significance of biomimetic hydrogel models of the tumor microenvironment to investigate invasion and therapeutic response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-340
Number of pages11
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • cancer stem cell
  • glioblastoma
  • hypoxia
  • invasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials


Dive into the research topics of 'Matrix Hyaluronic Acid and Hypoxia Influence a CD133+Subset of Patient-Derived Glioblastoma Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this