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Magn Reson Med. 2002 Nov;48(5):819-25.

Real-time changes in 1H and 31P NMR spectra of malignant human mammary epithelial cells during treatment with the anti-inflammatory agent indomethacin.

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MR Oncology Section, Division of MR Research, Department of Radiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Choline metabolites in malignant human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) are significantly altered compared to normal HMECs. (1)H NMR studies of cell extracts have shown that treatment of malignant HMECs with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent, indomethacin, results in a distribution of choline compounds more typical of nonmalignant HMECs. To follow the time course of these changes, in this study real-time monitoring of choline compounds of malignant MDA-MB-231 cells was performed during treatment with indomethacin. The contribution of changes in intra- and extracellular pH to changes in choline compounds was also examined. Changes in water-soluble choline phospholipid metabolites, such as phosphocholine (PC), glycerophosphocholine (GPC), and total choline, as well as intracellular pH, were monitored by (31)P and diffusion-weighted (1)H NMR spectroscopy of living cells using an NMR-compatible perfusion system. An accumulation of GPC and a decrease of PC, resulting in an increased [GPC]/[PC] ratio, were detected within 2 hr of treatment with 200 microM indomethacin. Since a decreased [GPC]/[PC] ratio is associated with increased malignancy, these data demonstrate that nonspecific cyclooxygenase inhibition by indomethacin alters the choline metabolite profile of malignant cells towards a less malignant phenotype. These changes were not related to alterations of intra- or extracellular pH.

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