AbstractWe have previously shown that cis-unsaturated fatty acids (c-UFAs) possess a selective tumoricidal action that can be blocked by antioxidants. This property of c-UFAs might be due to various factors, including increased uptake, unusual distribution, or an ability to alter free radical generation in tumor but not normal cells. 14C-labelled linoleic acid (LA) uptake was almost the same in normal and tumor cells, whereas that of 14C-labelled arachidonic acid (AA) and 14C-labelled eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in tumor cells was substantially less than in normal cells. Tumor cells incorporate major portions of the fatty acids in the ether lipid and phospholipid fractions, whereas normal cells incorporate the fatty acids primarily in the phospholipid fraction. LA, AA, and EPA augmented nitroblue tetrazolium reduction, an indication of free radical generation, selectively in the tumor cells. These results suggest that there are significant differences between normal and tumor cells in fatty acid uptake and distribution, and in the ability of fatty acids to generate free radicals.
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