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EPR study of the effect, induced by zidovudine (AZT), on the membrane lipid dynamics in leukemic cell

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Zidovudine (AZT) was the first drug approved by the FDA for treatment of HIV infections. To investigate the AZT effects on the physical properties of K562 cell membranes, experiments were performed by measuring an order parameter value in these cells, previously labelled with 16-DSA (16-doxyl-stearic acid) or 5-DSA (5-doxyl-stearic acid). The EPR spectra of the labelled fatty acid were used to detect the alteration in their freedom of motion and to provide indications of membrane fluidity. Two different parameters were calculated from EPR spectra for the 16-DSA and 5-DSA. Preliminary data indicate that, for both the probes used, these parameters were not significantly different in the control cells with respect to the AZT-treated ones. Control measurements, performed to test the sensitivity of the technique using the DMSO agent, showed a significant increase in the K562 membrane fluidity.


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