Chloramphenicol-induced erythroid suppression and bone marrow ferrochelatase activity in dogs

David R. Manyan, Grace K. Arimura, Adel A. Yunis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Ferrochelatase activity was determined in bone marrow mitochondria of dogs receiving 100 mg. of chloramphenicol per kilogram per day and of control animals. Those animals receiving chloramphenicol for 3 weeks exhibited a 65 to 90 per cent decrease in ferrochelatase activity as compared to the controls; this enzymic activity returned to normal levels 8 weeks after discontinuation of treatment. Accompanying the drop in ferrochelatase activity was a marked elevation of the level of free erythrocyte protoporphyrin and an increase in stainable bone marrow iron, findings consistent with a block in the final step of heme synthesis. Two of the 3 dogs receiving chloramphenicol showed a significant reticulocytopenia; the reticulocyte count returned to normal 2 weeks after cessation of chloramphenicol therapy. No significant alteration in the white cell and platelet values were observed. Whatever the mechanism involved, it is hypothesized that the suppression of ferrochelatase activity by chloramphenicol accompanied by a block in the last step of heme synthesis offers a reasonable explanation for the apparent vulnerability of the erythroid cells to the drug.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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