Background. Issues regarding cancer stem cell (CSC) movement are important in neu-rosphere biology as cell-cell or cell-environment interactions may have significant impacts on CSC differentiation and contribute to the heterogeneity of the neurosphere.
Aims. Despite the growing body of literature data on the biology of brain tumor stem cells, floating CSC-derived neurospheres have been scarcely characterized from a morphological and ultrastructural point of view.
Results. Here we report a morphological and ultrastructural characterization performed by live imaging and scanning electron microscopy. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) CSC-derived neurospheres are heterogeneous and are constituted by cells, morphologically different, capable of forming highly dynamic structures. These dynamic structures are regulated by not serendipitous cell-cell interactions, and they synchronously pulsate following a cyclic course made of “fast” and “slow” alternate phases. Autocrine/paracrine non canonical Wnt signalling appears to be correlated with the association status of neurospheres.
Conclusions. The results obtained suggest that GBM CSCs can behave both as independents cells and as “social” cells, highly interactive with other members of its species, giving rise to a sort of “multicellular organism”.