Detection of NADH and NADPH levels in vivo identifies shift of glucose metabolism in cancer to energy production

Elena V. Potapova, Evgenii A. Zherebtsov, Valery V. Shupletsov, Viktor V. Dremin, Ksenia Y. Kandurova, Andrian V. Mamoshin, Andrey Y. Abramov, Andrey V. Dunaev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Profound changes in the metabolism of cancer cells have been known for almost 100 years, and many aspects of these changes have continued to be actively studied and discussed. Differences in the results of various studies can be explained by the diversity of tumours, which have differing processes of energy metabolism, and by limitations in the methods used. Here, using fluorescence lifetime needle optical biopsy in a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mouse model and patients with HCC, we measured reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) in control liver, and in HCC tumours and their adjacent regions. We found that NADH level (mostly responsible for energy metabolism) is increased in tumours but also in adjacent regions of the same liver. NADPH level is significantly decreased in the tumours of patients but increased in the HCC mouse model. However, in the ex vivo tumour slices of mouse HCC, reactive oxygen species production and glutathione level (both dependent on NADPH) were significantly suppressed. Thus, glucose‐dependent NADH and NADPH production in tumours changed but with a more pronounced shift to energy production (NADH), rather than NADPH synthesis for redox balance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2674-2682
Number of pages9
JournalFEBS journal
Issue number12
Early online date5 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: 'Potapova, E.V., Zherebtsov, E.A., Shupletsov, V.V., Dremin, V.V., Kandurova, K.Y., Mamoshin, A.V., Abramov, A.Y. and Dunaev, A.V. (2024), ‘Detection of NADH and NADPH levels in vivo identifies shift of glucose metabolism in cancer to energy production’. FEBS Journal', which has been published in final form at [].  This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archived Versions.

Data Access Statement

Data underlying the results may be obtained from the authors upon reasonable request.


  • energy metabolism
  • fluorescence lifetime
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • liver cancer
  • optical biopsy


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