Limits of stimulation of proliferation and differentiation of bone marrow cells of mice treated with swainsonine

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The limits of stimulation of the immunomodulatory alkaloid swainsonine (8αβ-indolizidine-1α,2α,8β-triol) were studied in inbred C57BL/6 mice for potential support of intense high dose cancer chemotherapy and/or radiation because of its attractive pharmacologic profile on the hematopoietic system. Specifically, the effects of swainsonine on bone marrow cellularity and on in vitro progenitor cell proliferation to total colony forming units (CFU) and differentiation to different lineages were studied as a function of number of days post drug administration. The lineages evaluated were colony forming units-granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM), erythroid-burst forming units (BFU-e) and CFU-granulocyte-erythrocyte-monocyte-megakaryocyte (CFU-GEMM or CFU-Mix). Groups of mice were treated with swainsonine or plain vehicle, phosphate buffered saline for 10 consecutive days. The effects of these agents on the hematopoietic system were studied up to 60 days following their discontinuation. The magnitude of the effects of swainsonine on bone marrow system gradually declined with increasing duration of days following its discontinuation. Nevertheless, its residual stimulatory effects on bone marrow cellularity, total CFU, CFU-GM, BFU-e and CFU-Mix continued to be significant (P<0.0001) up to 45, 50, 50, 55 and 50 days, respectively, compared to those of diluent buffer or untreated controls. Since cancer chemotherapeutic agents or radiation are normally given in schedules and/or cycles, these results strongly suggest that swainsonine effects are sustained long enough to potentially support and facilitate hematopoietic recovery during anti-cancer cytotoxic treatment. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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