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Cremer, Thomas; Zorn, Christian; Cremer, Christoph; Zimmer, J. (1976): Formation of viable cell fragments by treatment with colchicine. In: Experimental Cell Research, Vol. 100: S. 345-355


Time-lapse cinematography of human fibroblasts revealed that mitotic cells separated into numerous cell fragments containing varying amounts of chromatin and cytoplasm when treated with colchicine. As cell fragments were very loosely attached to the surface of the culture vessel during their formation, they could be easily detached like mitotic cells by gently shaking the vessel and thus separated from normal interphase cells. Fragments obtained by this procedure were able to exclude trypan blue indicating, therefore, an intact cell membrane. When placed into Petri dishes many of them attached to and even spread out on the surface. Five hours later the majority of the attached fragments incorporated [3H]leucine. Time-lapse films showed that fragments were able to extend and retract pseudopodia at least for several hours after their formation. Although the fragments degenerated within a few days, in the present experiments the possibility was not excluded that fragments which had lost only a very small amount of chromatin and cytoplasm survived for longer periods of time. The observations clearly indicate viability of many newly formed fragments.