Growth of ovarian-carcinoma cell lines at physiological folate concentration: Effect on folate-binding protein expression in vitro and in vivo

S. Miotti, P. Facheris, A. Tomassetti, F. Bottero, C. Bottini, F. Ottone, M. I. Colnaghi, M. A. Bunni, D. G. Priest, S. Canevari

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Ovarian-carcinoma cell lines (OVCAR3, IGROV1, OVCA432, SW626 and SKOV3), grown in standard medium containing supra-physiological (2.3 μM) folate concentration, display different levels of reactivity with the anti-folate-binding-protein (FBP) monoclonal antibody MOv18, which recognizes the α-isoform of the protein. Gel-filtration and absorption experiments indicated that on IGROV1 cells this molecule accounts for all folic-acid binding at nanomolar concentrations. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of extracellular folate levels on cells adapted to grow in medium containing physiological folate concentration (20 nM). By the ternary complex assay, all cell lines showed a marked depletion of intracellular reduced folates, compared with those in standard folate medium. The monitoring of FBP by MOv18 showed on IGROV1 cells a transient up-regulation of the protein, whereas on the other cell lines, except SKOV3, no changes were detected. These data suggest that in these cells further over-expression of the molecule cannot generally be induced by lowering the extracellular folate concentration. On SKOV3, Scatchard analysis of 125I-MOv18 binding, as well as the evaluation of total folate binding capacity, showed a 2- to 3-fold stable increase of FBP expression after long-term growth in low-folate medium. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis indicated in these cells a 1.5-fold increase in α-FBP mRNA. SKOV3 cells, maintained in vitro in medium containing supraphysiological and physiological (i.e., low folate) concentrations were injected into nude mice. Weight differences, though not statistically significant, were observed in favour of low-folate-derived tumors. Immunohistochemical and immunochemical analysis of the tumor samples showed that in SKOV3 cells the receptor modulation can also be induced by restoring the physiological folate concentration in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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