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colchicine(kŏl`chəsēn'), alkaloid extracted from plants of the genus Colchicum and especially from the corms of the autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale (see meadow saffronmeadow saffron
or autumn crocus,
perennial garden ornamental (Colchicum autumnale) of the family Liliaceae (lily family). Native to Europe and N Africa, it has escaped from gardens to meadows and fields in some parts of the United States.
..... Click the link for more information. ). 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 mitosismitosis
, process of nuclear division in a living cell by which the carriers of hereditary information, or the chromosomes, are exactly replicated and the two copies distributed to identical daughter nuclei.
..... Click the link for more information. , or cell division. As a mitotic poison, it inhibits rapidly proliferating cells and has been used in cancer therapy and as an immunosuppressive drugimmunosuppressive drug,
any of a variety of substances used to prevent production of antibodies. They are commonly used to prevent rejection by a recipient's body of an organ transplanted from a donor.
..... Click the link for more information. . Colchicine has also been used to visualize chromosomes photomicrographically and to induce mutations experimentally.
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C22H25O6N An alkaloid extracted from the stem of the autumn crocus; used experimentally to inhibit spindle formation and delay centromere division, and medicinally in the treatment of gout.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.