The absorption and metabolism of synthetic polyglutamates of folic acid have been compared with free pteroylglutamic acid in four subjects having chronic lymphatic leukemia and one with Hodgkin's granuloma. Pteroylpolyglutamates containing either three or seven glutamate residues were prepared by the solid-phase method permitting placement of carbon-14 labels in either the pteridine ring or in a selected glutamate unit of the gamma peptide chain. Complete dissociation was observed between biological folate activity and radioactivity of plasma after ingestion of pteroyltriglutamate labeled in the middle glutamate. This indicates cleavage to the monoglutamate form at the time of absorption from the intestine or very soon thereafter. A large portion of radioactivity liberated from the middle glutamate is recoverable as carbon dioxide in the exhaled air.
C. E. Butterworth Jr., C. M. Baugh, Carlos Krumdieck