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The isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH)1 mutation is associated with accumulation of 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG), but the metabolic fluxes associated with 2-HG production and cellular reprogramming of mutant IDH1 cells are not fully understood. The objective of this study was to use 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to probe the fate of 13C-labeled metabolites (at thermal polarization and hyperpolarized by dynamic nuclear polarization) and to monitor the glycolytic pathway, the TCA cycle, and glutamine metabolism in wild-type and mutant IDH1 glioma cells. To achieve this goal, U87 cells expressing mutant IDH1 and wild-type IDH1 were generated by transduction with a lentiviral vector coding for mutant or wild-type IDH1 respectively. MRS studies were performed using a cell perfusion (bioreactor) system. Live cells were exposed to hyperpolarized 1-13C or 2-13C-labeled pyruvic acid, 1-13C glucose or 3-13C glutamine and cell metabolism was probed using 13C MRS. We found that in mutant IDH1 cells pyruvate flux to lactate was increased relative to wild-type cells, and pyruvate flux to glutamate and 2-HG was decreased compared to pyruvate flux to glutamate in wild-type IDH1 cell. Glutamine flux to glutamate in wild-type cells, or to glutamate and 2-HG in mutant IDH1 cells was comparable. Accordingly, the total intracellular glutamate pool was reduced in mutant IDH1 cells. The drop in pyruvate flux to the TCA cycle was mediated by a significant drop in pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) activity, which was due to significantly increased inhibitory PDH phosphorylation. When considering 2-HG synthesis, our data also indicate that, consistent with previous work, the majority of 2-HG is produced from glutamine (82%). However in our cells a significant portion (18%) was also derived from glucose. Our findings thus point to metabolic reprogramming in IDH1 mutant cells beyond 2-HG production and highlight the value of MRS for characterizing the metabolic changes associated with the IDH1 mutation.

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