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In order to locate the target cells for malignant transformation by BK virus (a human papova virus) in hamster brain, electron microscopic observation of tumor originally induced in hamster brain by BK virus was performed. With light microscopy, the BK virus-induced tumor (Vn 17) bore a close resemblance to human malignant ependymoma. Under the electron microscope, numerous microvilli and few cilia were visible on the surface of the tumor cells. These tumor cells were joined to each other by desmosomes. Gap junctions were not observed. Multilayered cuboidal cells were observed around the lumen and blood vessels in the tumor. With regard to fine structure, three types of Vn 17 cells were recognized; ependymal like cells, tanycytes with prominent cell processes, and undifferentiated cells with few cytoplasmic organelles. There was no basal lamina between the ependymal cells and the connective tissue stroma. The Vn 17 cells showed some similarity to the ultrastructural features of the epemdymal cells of newborn rabbits, suggesting that the target cells for Vn 17 may be cells related to ependyma. Malignant transformation of the cells would be initiated in the early stages after BK virus inoculation into the brain of newborn hamsters.
experimental brain tumor
Acta Medica Okayama
Okayama University Medical School