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colchicine

colchicine (kŏl´chəsēn´), alkaloid extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum and especially from the corms of the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale (see meadow saffron). The metabolic effect of colchicine is not known, but it is thought that it may decrease production of lactic acid and prevent accumulation of uric acid crystals in the body, making it useful in the treatment of gout. Colchicine and derivatives such as demecolcine inhibit mitosis, or cell division. As a mitotic poison, it inhibits rapidly proliferating cells and has been used in cancer therapy and as an immunosuppressive drug. Colchicine has also been used to visualize chromosomes photomicrographically and to induce mutations experimentally.

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colchicine

colchicine An alkaloid derived from the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale. It inhibits spindle formation in cells during mitosis so that chromosomes cannot separate during anaphase, thus inducing multiple sets of chromosomes (see polyploid). Colchicine is used in genetics, cytology, and plant breeding research and also in cancer therapy to inhibit cell division.

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colchicine

colchicine An alkaloid isolated from the meadow saffron, or autumn crocus (Colchicum spp.). It is an old remedy for gout. It inhibits cell division, and is used in experimental horticulture to produce plants with abnormal numbers of chromosomes.

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