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Vincristine-induced abnormalities of gastrointestinal regulatory peptide cells of the rat

An immunocytochemical study

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The microtubule-disrupting drug vincristine is a common component of anti-cancer chemotherapeutic regimes, which produces acute constipation as a side effect. Although generally attributed to damage to the myenteric plexus, the precise mechanism of this disturbance is unknown. In addition, vincristine causes marked aberrations in the secretory response of pancreatic endocrine tissue in both man and rats. No information is available on its possible effect on regulatory peptides of the gastrointestinal tract. In this study we have produced vincristine-induced constipation in rats at a dosage comparable with that employed in the treatment of human subjects. Immunocytochemistry revealed concomitant disturbances in cells exhibiting immunoreactivity for gastrin in the antrum, for gastric inhibitory polypeptide and 5-hydroxytryptamine in the duodenum, for enteroglucagon in the colon, and for somatostatin in all three sites. These widespread effects are transient in nature with normal cell numbers and morphology being reestablished within 6 days. It is suggested that the observed effects are a direct result of microtubule disruption and that gastrointestinal regulatory peptide and amine immunoreactive cells have a rapid regeneration potential.

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Correspondence to Dr. C. F. Johnston.

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Johnston, C.F., Shaw, C. & Buchanan, K.D. Vincristine-induced abnormalities of gastrointestinal regulatory peptide cells of the rat. Cell Tissue Res. 239, 229–233 (1985).

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Key words

  • Chemotherapy
  • Vincristine
  • Constipation
  • Mucosa
  • Regulatory peptides
  • Rat