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Used in cytogenetics, colcemid, also known as demecolcine, is related to colchicine but it is less toxic. It depolymerises microtubules and limits microtubule formation (inactivates spindle fibre formation), thus arresting cells in metaphase and allowing cell harvest and karyotyping to be performed.
Mechanism of Action
Colcemid is a microtubule-depolymerizing drug like vinblastine. It acts by two distinct mechanisms. At very low concentration it binds to microtubule plus end to suppress microtubule dynamics. Recent study has found at higher concentration colcemid can promote microtubule detachment from microtubule organizing center. Detached microtubules with unprotected minus end depolymerizes with time. Cytotoxicity of the cells seems to correlate better with microtubule detachment. Lower concentration affects microtubule dynamics and cell migration.
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