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To determine if the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide influences the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, the effects of cyclophosphamide on norepinephrine concentration in the heart, adrenal gland, spleen, and thymus gland were evaluated. Male BALB/cByJ mice were administered a single injection of cyclophosphamide (15, 50, or 100 mg/kg, i.p) or saline-vehicle. Organs were collected 72 or 120 h after injection and norepinephrine concentrations were determined by high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Cyclophosphamide reduced spleen, thymus gland, and heart mass while also elevating spleen and thymus gland norepinephrine concentrations (both pmoles/mg tissue and pmoles/mg protein) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Norepinephrine concentrations in heart and adrenal gland were not altered by cyclophosphamide at any drug dose or time point. Dose- and time-dependent cyclophosphamide-mediated changes in peripheral norepinephrine levels in the spleen and thymus gland are interesting because subjects administered cyclophosphamide may be more susceptible to opportunistic infections, not only because the drug is antineoplastic, but also because the drug alters nervous system-immune system communication and the neurochemical milieu in which surviving cells interact.



Originally published as:

Karp, J. D., Szczytkowski-Thomson, J. L., & Gentile, C. F. (2004). Noradrenergic responses of peripheral organs to cyclophosphamide in mice. Life Sciences, 75(17), 2077–2089.

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