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Cancer Lett. 2000 Mar 31;150(2):205-13.

A comparative study of normal and reverse phase high pressure liquid chromatography for analysis of porphyrins accumulated after 5-aminolaevulinic acid treatment of colon adenocarcinoma cells.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, N-7006, Trondheim, Norway.


Primary adenocarcinoma cells of the rectosigmoid colon (WiDr-cells) were treated with 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA). Cellular porphyrins were separated and quantified by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), both as free porphyrin acids after an easy extraction method with a subsequent reverse phase technique, and then as porphyrin esters after a more laborious extraction method and subsequent normal phase technique. The porphyrins were detected by means of a fluorescence detector. Analysis by normal phase HPLC indicated that 81% (739 pmol/mg protein) of the total amounts of fluorescing porphyrins accumulated was protoporphyrin IX, while similar analysis by reverse phase HPLC indicated that PpIX constituted 91% (622 pmol/mg protein) of the accumulated porphyrins. In addition to protoporhyrin IX, copro-, hexa-, hepta- and uroporphyrins were observed in extracts from 5-ALA-treated cells by both methods. The discrepancy between the two methods increased with increasing hydrophilicity of the analysed porphyrins, with uroporphyrin estimated to be 6-fold higher (63 vs. 10 pmol/mg protein) by normal than by reverse phase HPLC.

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