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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2002 Apr;38(4):205-7.

Lipotropes regulate bcl-2 gene expression in the human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7.

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Department of Animal and Range Sciences, Hultz Hall, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58105, USA.


Lipotropes, a methyl group containing nutrients, including choline, methionine, folic acid, and vitamin B(12), are essential nutrients for humans. They are important methyl donors that interact in the metabolism of one-carbon units and are essential for the synthesis and methylation of deoxyribonucleic acid. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of excess lipotropes on the growth of a human breast cancer cell line, MCF-7, and normal mammary cells, MCF-10A, in culture. Both cell lines were grown in basal culture medium for 24 h and then switched to medium supplemented with 50 times the amount of each lipotrope as basal culture medium (control). Although there were no significant differences in growth between treatments in either cell line, gene array and Northern analysis revealed that expression of bcl-2 was decreased in lipotrope-treated MCF-7 cells. The ability to induce tumor cell death could have many uses in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Bcl-2 regulates apoptosis and has been shown to directly affect the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy agents, and it is suggested that strategies designed to block Bcl-2 might prove useful in sensitizing tumor cells to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. This study shows that although excess lipotropes do not inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, they can down-regulate the bcl-2 gene, suggesting that lipotropes may increase the susceptibility of breast cancer cells to anticancer drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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