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Parasitol Res. 2004 Jan;92(2):159-70. Epub 2003 Dec 12.

The effect of drugs on cell structure of Tritrichomonas foetus.

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Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências Morfológicas, Universidade Federal Do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The effects of the microtubule affecting drugs taxol, nocodazole and colchicine on the cell cycle and ultrastructure of Tritrichomonas foetus, a protist parasite of cattle, were studied. Alterations in the cytoskeleton, motility and organellar ultrastructure were followed using anti-tubulin antibodies and fluorescence microscopy, scanning- and transmission-electron microscopy. Flow cytometry was also used to analyze the effect of the drugs on the cell cycle. T. foetus was treated with 10 microM taxol, 15 microM nocodazole or 1.5 mM colchicine for 12 h. The first effect observed was pseudocyst formation and alterations in cell motility. The cell cycle was affected and the cells have blocked cytokinesis, but not karyokinesis. The behavior of Golgi, hydrogenosomes and vacuoles was analyzed. The following effects were seen following drug treatments: (1) cell motility was altered and flagella internalized; (2) microtubules of the pelta-axostyle complex were not depolymerized and the axostyle assumed a curved form; (3) hydrogenosomes were of abnormal size and shape; (4) cells became multinucleate; (5) the division process was blocked in cytokinesis; (6) autophagic vacuoles containing a large amount of microtubules were seen; (7) axoneme organization was altered; (8) zoids were formed; (9) signs of cell death, such as membrane blebbing, were observed.

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