Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are important constituents of membrane phospholipids, whose levels are decreased in some tumor cells. This deficiency may cause alterations in signal transduction and an interruption of normal cellular events. The enrichment of tumor cells with PUFA may stimulate or inhibit tumor growth, probably depending on the type of PUFA and the cellular concentration of aldehydes derived from restored lipid peroxidation. We examined the effect of several doses of prooxidant on the growth of hepatoma cells with different aldehyde dehydrogenase activities, enriched with arachidonic acid. Two doses of prooxidant were sufficient to reduce growth of hepatoma cells with low aldehyde dehydrogenase activity, whereas three doses were necessary for those with high enzyme activity. In both cases, lipid peroxidation products blocked the cells in the S phase.
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