1 H Fast-Field Cycling NMR relaxometry is proposed as a powerful method to investigate tumour cell metabolism by measuring changes in cell water content and mobility across the cellular membrane. Measurements of intracellular water residence time in cultured cells were carried out by measuring T 1 at fixed field (0.2 T) after the addition of a paramagnetic Gd complex (Prohance) at different concentrations in the external medium. Investigations on tumour cells (mammary adenocarcinoma TS/A) grown in normo- or hypoxic conditions or suspended in ‘hypo-osmotic’ solutions allowed us to demonstrate that both hypoxic and hypo-osmotic conditions cause a marked increase in water mobility as assessed by the elongation of T 1 . Conversely, the metabolic change caused by glutamine (an aminoacid essential for tumour growth) deprivation caused a water mobility decrease (shorter T 1 ). These findings suggest that T 1 measurements at low and variable magnetic field strengths, giving access to the assessment of intracellular water lifetime, can provide important information about tumour cell metabolism in real time and non-invasively.
Bibliographical noteThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 (H2020 Health) research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 668119 (project ‘IDentIFY’). This article is based upon work from COST Action EURELAX, CA15209, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).
- intracellular water lifetime
- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Profiles (NMRD)
- tumour hypoxia
- tumour metabolism