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Use of colchicine for the measurement of mitotic rate in the intestinal epithelium


Use of colchicine for the measurement of mitotic rate in the intestinal epithelium



American Journal of Anatomy 108: 231-244



ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9106

PMID: 14448765

DOI: 10.1002/aja.1001080302

The effect of colchicine on mitosis in the intestinal epithelium of rats was investigated to determine the suitability of this drug for the quantitative estimation of the mitotic rate. Under certain precise experimental conditions injected colchicine causes the arrest at metaphase of all cells undergoing mitosis. Mitosis is neither stimulated nor inhibited nor hastened nor prolonged. There is little delay in action of the drug after injection, nor escape from its effects for at least three hours. Consequently, the proportion of nuclei in metaphase counted in tissue sections at certain times after colchicine injection may be used to calculate the mitotic rate. In our experiments satisfactory conditions were obtained when Sherman stock albino rats were injected subcutaneously with 0.1 mg of purified colchicine in aqueous solution and the animals sacrificed two to three hours later. Counts of the numbers of mitoses and intermitotic nuclei were used to calculate the duration of mitosis and its stages. The turnover time of the epithelium of the crypts of Lieberkuhn of the intestine was calculated to be 24-29 hours. It is felt that the colchicine technique outlined in this article may be used with equal success for the measurement of the mitotic rate of other tissues and in other species.

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Accession: 050907360

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