Modulation of the uptake of critical nutrients by breast cancer cells by lactate: Impact on cell survival, proliferation and migration

Exp Cell Res. 2016 Feb 15;341(2):111-22. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2016.01.008. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


This work aimed to characterize the uptake of folate and glucose by breast cancer cells and to study the effect of lactate upon the transport of these nutrients and upon cell viability, proliferation and migration capacity. Data obtained showed that: a) MCF7 cells uptake (3)H-folic acid ((3)H-FA) at physiological but not at acidic pH; b) T47D cells accumulate (3)H-FA and (14)C-5-methyltetrahydrofolate ((14)C-5-MTHF) more efficiently at acidic than at physiological pH; c) (3)H-deoxyglucose ((3)H-DG) uptake by T47D cells is sodium-independent, inhibited by cytochalasin B (CYT B) and stimulated by insulin. Regarding the effect of lactate, in T47D cells, acute (26 min) and chronic (24 h) exposure to lactic acid (LA) stimulated (3)H-FA uptake. Acute exposure to LA also stimulated (3)H-DG uptake and chronic exposure to LA significantly stimulated T47D cell migratory capacity. In conclusion, the transport of folates is strikingly different in two phenotypically similar breast cancer cell lines: MCF7 and T47D cells. Additionally, lactate seems to act as a signaling molecule which increases the uptake of nutrients and promotes the migration capacity of T47D cells.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Folate uptake; Glucose uptake; Lactate; Warburg effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology*
  • Cell Survival
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism*


  • Lactic Acid
  • Folic Acid
  • Glucose