A cell line, the growth and survival of which is markedly affected by linoleic acid, has been established from a carcinogen-induced rat mammary tumor. The cells have been continuously passaged in 5% rat serum plus 10% fetal calf serum-supplemented medium. The rat serum component was found to be indispensable, for when it was omitted the growth rate rapidly declined and the cells died by 5 to 7 days. Removal of the rat serum from the growth medium also resulted in a dramatic loss of Oil Red O-positive droplets in the cells, suggesting that the lipid component of rat serum might be a major growth-promoting principle in rat serum. This is likely since the total lipid fraction, but not the delipidized protein fraction, could largely supplant requirement of the cells for rat serum. Pure linoleic acid was found to be effective in maintaining the cell growth in delipidized serum or in whole fetal calf serum-supplemented medium. Fatty acid analysis revealed a 19-fold higher amount of linoleic acid in rat serum than in fetal calf serum.

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Presented at the John E. Fogarty International Center Conference on Hormones and Cancer, March 29 to 31, 1978, Bethesda, Md.

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