The effect of colchicine and other antimitotic drugs was studied in cultures of 11-day chick embryo breast muscle. Exposure of such cultures to 10-6 M colchicine results in fragmentation of the elongate myotubes into rounded, cytoplasmic sacs (myosacs) containing various numbers of nuclei. Comparison of the dose-response relation between myotube fragmentation and metaphase arrest suggests that the underlying mechanism may be similar in both cases. Low temperature does not duplicate the effects of colchicine. Glycerinated myotubes are not affected by the mitotic inhibitors. The effect of colchicine on myotubes is reversible. Myosacs elongate within several days after removal from colchicine. However, the regenerated myotubes fail to incorporate additional mononucleated cells. Colchicine does not interfere with the process of fusion itself, but the metaphase block prevents cells from entering that phase of the cell cycle during which fusion can occur. Cells arrested in mitosis by colchicine do not recover when incubated in normal medium. Colcemid-induced arrest is reversible and does not prevent subsequent fusion of the cells.

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