Colchicine, a miracle drug 

S Khurram Dr Aqeel

Immunity has played fundamental role against protection of diseases but sometimes it is necessary to suppress immunity for prevention of organ rejection. Many drugs are available in market but their price and patient non-compliance are very high. For this purpose, some therapeutic agent was required at low cost to enhance patient compliance. Colchicine is an alkaloid found in various species of Colchicum Automonale. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Colchicine as a monotherapy for the treatment of familial Mediterranean fever and gout. Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory agent. Keeping in view, anti-inflammatory effect and low cost, it was used to evaluate its effect on immune system.
The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of Colchicine on cellular immunity, humoral immunity and immune organs, i.e spleen and thymus. To investigate the effects of Colchicine on immune system, a research work was conducted at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Veterinary and Animal sciences (UVAS), Lahore, in 2015. The results of these experiments showed that Colchicine possesses immuno-suppressive characteristics. Therefore, along with its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also be used as an immuno-suppressive agent in allograft and autoimmune diseases.
To determine the effect of Colchicine on cell mediated immunity, delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) assay, macrophage engulfment assay, cyclophosphamide induced neutropenic test and nitric oxide production were performed after administration of 40mg/kg, 80mg/kg and 160mg/kg doses of Colchicine. Mice were selected as experimental animal. Humoral immunity was investigated by performing haemagglutination assay, mice lethality assay and Jerne hemolytic plaque formation assay. Mice were administered 40mg/kg, 80mg/kg and 160mg/kg doses of drug. Data obtained was analyzed by using SPSS for windows version 21. One way ANOVA and chi square test were performed.
The results show that there was a significant decrease in the phenomena of delayed type hypersensitivity in colchicine treated mice. There was considerable reduction in macrophage engulfment activity and ability to produce nitric oxide following colchicine administration. There was considerable reduction in total leukocyte and neutrophil count after administration of neutropenic dose of cyclophosphamide in control and colchicine treated groups.
For evaluation of colchicine on humoral immunity haemagglutination assay, mice lethality test and Jerne hemolytic plaque formation were performed. These tests have provided data that there was reduction in antibody formation from cells after use of colchicine. Therefore, it is concluded that colchicine suppresses the cellular and humoral responses in mice.

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