colchicine

colchicine (kŏlˈchəsēnˌ) [key], 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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on colchicine from Fact Monster:

  • meadow saffron - meadow saffron meadow saffron or autumn crocus,perennial garden ornamental (Colchicum autumnale) of ...
  • Albert Francis Blakeslee - Blakeslee, Albert Francis Blakeslee, Albert Francis, 1874–1954, American botanist, b. ...
  • MEDICINAL PLANTS - Many plants produce special substances in their roots, leaves, flowers, or seeds that help them to survive. For example, some plants make nasty-tastin
  • immunosuppressive drug - immunosuppressive drug immunosuppressive drug, any of a variety of substances used to prevent ...
  • gout - gout gout, condition that manifests itself as recurrent attacks of acute arthritis, which may ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Pharmacology