D-54 MG, a human glioma-derived continuous cell line growing as subcutaneous or intracranial xenografts in athymic mice, was found to be sensitive to the effects of d,l-buthionine-(SR)-sulfoximine, a selective inhibitor of γ-glutamylcysteine synthetase. Intraperitoneal administration of one dose of buthionine sulfoximine (BSO, 5 mmol/kg) resulted in depletion of total intracellular glutathione to 57 and 47% of control 12 hr, and 73 and 23% of control 24 hr, after BSO in subcutaneous and intracranial xenografts respectively. Concurrent measurement of total glutathione in the contralateral (non-tumor-containing) cerebral hemisphere in mice bearing intracranial D-54 xenografts demonstrated insignificant depletion of glutathione. Multiple doses of BSO, at 12-hr intervals, resulted in further depletion to 27% (s.c.) and 16.5% (i.c.) of control 12 hr following the final dose of BSO. Quantitative analysis of BSO delivery to xenograft and contralteral brain tissue revealed transfer constants, K1, of 15.8-24.1 × 10-3 and 2.4 × 10-3 ml · g-1 · min-1 for xenograft and "normal" brain respectively. This highly selective depletion of glutathione in neoplastic tissue versus surrounding non-neoplastic host tissue may have therapeutic implications for the rational use of chemotherapeutic and radiotherapeutic intervention.
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