6-Mercaptopurine (6MP) metabolism was quantitatively determined in L5178Y murine lymphoma. Cells grown in time-course incubates with [35S]-6MP were extracted with cold perchloric acid, and the buffered extracts were subjected to high-performance liquid cation-exchange chromatography prior to and after hydrolysis with alkaline phosphatase. Free sulfate, 6-thiouric acid, 6-thioxanthosine, 6-thioguanosine, 6-thioinosine, free 6MP, and 6-methylthioinosine were separated from each other; identified in the radiochromatograms by elution volume, UV spectroscopic data, and enzymatic peak-shifting analyses with purine nucleoside phosphorylase; and quantitatively determined by means of 35S radioactivity. Gross intracellular 35S concentrations remained constant at 5 × 10-5m after 1 hr of incubation. 6MP metabolism in L5178Y cells was distinguished into an early phase (to 1 hr of incubation) in which 6MP was predominantly catabolized to 6-thiouric acid and free sulfate, into an intermediate phase (to 8 hr) in which substantial amounts of free 6MP and of ribonucleotides of 6-thioxanthosine and 6-thioguanosine were present while the concentrations of nonnucleotide oxidation products sharply decreased, and into a late phase (to 24 hr) in which the ribonucleotides of 6MP, of 6-thioguanosine and, in particular, of 6-methylthioinosine were the most abundant metabolites.


This is Paper 5 of a series on “The Quantitative Determination of Metabolites of 6-Mercaptopurine in Biological Materials.” We gratefully acknowledge Ioans from the Fond der Deutschen Chemischen Industrie.

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