Energy deprivation increases sensitivity to killing by hyperthermia. Hypoxic cells become dramatically sensitive to heat under glycolytic inhibition or glucose deprivation. To define the role of glucose metabolism in hypoxic cells in the presence or absence of elevated temperatures, cell culture studies were carried out to determine whether the enhanced cell killing of glucose-deprived hypoxic cells could be reversed by nucleoside supplementation. The results with HeLa cells showed that purine ribonucleosides were capable of reversing the enhanced heat-induced cytotoxicity under appropriate cultural conditions. Pyrimidine ribonucleosides and deoxyribonucleosides were ineffective. Based on the known metabolism of purine ribonucleosides, it is postulated that protection from hyperthermic killing by purine nucleosides comes about as a result of increased energy production via the purine nucleotide cycle.

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