Tetraphenylphosphonium chloride induced MR-visible lipid accumulation in a malignant human breast cell line

Int J Cancer. 1996 Jul 3;67(1):72-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0215(19960703)67:1<72::AID-IJC13>3.0.CO;2-E.


The effect of the cationic lipophilic phosphonium salt tetraphenylphosphonium chloride (TPP) on a human malignant breast cell line, DU4475, was monitored with proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H MRS). TPP caused a dose- and time- dependent increase in resonances arising from MR-visible lipid as measured by the CH2/CH3 ratio in the 1-dimensional 1H MR spectrum. Two-dimensional MRS identified increases in the glycerophosphocholine/lysine cross-peak ratio and corresponding decreases in the phosphocholine/lysine ratio in a dose- dependent fashion in TPP-treated cells. Lipid metabolic changes are discussed in the light of other MR experiments, and the data indicate that accumulation of MR-visible lipids may arise from the rearrangement of phospholipids accompanying mitochondrial destruction or from the catabolism of phospholipids associated with early events in the cytotoxic process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Onium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Onium Compounds
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • tetraphenylphosphonium