Binding of tritiated folic acid by supernatants prepared from extracts of normal and leukaemic leucocytes, normal mucosa, and malignant tumours from different parts of the gastrointestinal tract has been measured using Sephadex-gel filtration and albumin-coated charcoal techniques. Non-specific binding (measured by Sephadex G-75 gel filtration) was almost invariably greater than specific binding measured by albumin-coated charcoal separation of bound and unbound folate. In nine normal leucocyte extracts, binding measured by Sephadex G-75 filtration ranged from 1·3 to 18·2 (mean 8·2) pg/mg protein and by albumin-coated charcoal from 1·0 to 14·8 (mean 6·7) pg/mg protein. Raised specific binding was found in the extracts from leucocytes of eight of 14 patients with chronic granulocytic leukaemia, in four substantially so (389, 121, 108, 59·7 pg/mg protein), but was only marginally increased in one of eight cases of acute myeloid leukaemia and in two of five cases of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Binding was normal in the extracts of all three cases of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia tested.
Among the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract binding was greatest by the duodenal mucosa and liver. Extracts of carcinoma of the stomach and colon bound greater amounts of 3H-folic acid than the corresponding normal mucosal extracts but the differences were not large. Sephadex G-200 gel chromatography showed more than one binding peak in the extracts of liver and duodenum but only one peak in the other tissues of the gastrointestinal tract, and only one peak, of molecular weight either about 50 000 or over 200 000, in the leucocyte extracts.
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