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Cancer Lett. 2000 Nov 28;160(2):149-57.

Ukrain(TM), a semisynthetic Chelidonium majus alkaloid derivative, acts by inhibition of tubulin polymerization in normal and malignant cell lines.

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Department of Physiology, University of Pretoria, P.O. Box 2034, 0001, Pretoria, South Africa.


Ukrain(TM) has been described as a semisynthetic Chelidonium majus alkaloid derivative, which exhibits selective toxicity towards malignant cells only. Its mechanism of action has hitherto been uncertain. We found that Ukrain(TM) inhibits tubulin polymerization, leading to impaired microtubule dynamics. This results in activation of the spindle checkpoint and thus a metaphase block. The effects of Ukrain(TM) on the growth, cell cycle progression and morphology of two normal, two transformed and two malignant cell lines did not differ. We could thus find no evidence for the selective cytotoxicity previously reported for Ukrain(TM).

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