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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Methotrexate rescue by 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-formyltetrahydrofolate in lymphoblast cell lines.

The rescue of lymphocytes from methotrexate (MTX) growth inhibition by 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5-methyl-THF) and 5-formyltetrahydrofolate (5-formyl-THF) has been studied. Rescue by 5-methyl-THF is selective for cells with high levels of homocysteine:5-methyl-THF methyl-transferase (methyltransferase). At MTX concentrations which inhibited growth greater than or equal to 85% in both leukemic T-lymphocytes (CCRF-CEM) and Epstein-Barr-transformed B-lymphocytes (LAZ-007), 5 micro M 5-formyl-THF rescued more effectively than did 5-methyl-THF, in either the presence or absence of the methyltransferase inhibitor, nitrous oxide. At less inhibitory MTX concentrations, both reduced folates rescued equally, except when methyltransferase was inhibited by nitrous oxide in which case 5-formyl-THF was clearly superior. In the absence of nitrous oxide, both cell lines contained approximately equal amounts of methyltransferase. Some apparent differences in the rescue of these cell lines with 5-methyl-THF were attributable to their different sensitivity to MTX. When metabolism of reduced folates was severely impaired by MTX and nitrous oxide, lymphocytes were rescued with 5-[methyl-14C]methyl-THF, and the uptake of 14C into DNA was measured. In corporation was very low, indicating that cellular oxidation of 5-methyl-THF to 5,10-methylene-tetrahydrofolate is minimal even under forcing conditions. MTX selectively in vivo will be influenced by the level of methyltransferase in tumor and normal tissues.[1]


  1. Methotrexate rescue by 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-formyltetrahydrofolate in lymphoblast cell lines. Dudman, N.P., Slowiaczek, P., Tattersall, M.H. Cancer Res. (1982) [Pubmed]
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