Chemical and radioautographic analysis of the small intestine of mice injected intraperitoneally with puromycin revealed an immediate decrease of precursor incorporation into DNA and protein and a delayed decrease of precursor incorporation into RNA. In addition to this decrease of precursor incorporation, damage to the crypt cells, but not to the cells of the villus of the small intestine, was observed. Further examination of other dividing cells (spleen) and nondividing cells (liver and heart) of these mice showed again that only cells of actively dividing tissues were damaged. The metabolic inhibitors actinomycin D, cytosine arabinoside, actidione, and puromycin aminonucleoside were used in an attempt to clarify the mechanism of cell damage by puromycin. The results showed that there was no clear correlation between cell necrosis and the pattern of inhibition of synthesis of DNA, RNA, or protein.

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