Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline



Six-mercaptopurine (6-MP) is an analogue of the nucleic acid constituents adenine and the purine base hypoxanthine. This compound is believed to interfere with biosynthesis of the aforementioned acids and is metabolized in the body to 6-thiouric acid (6-mercapto 2, 8-purinediol) (1) and it has been used in the treatment of acute leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia. Studies have shown that 6-MP will reduce the leukocyte count but not without some toxicity. Various experimental techniques have established the feasibility of 6-MP as a chemotherapeutical agent in the treatment and possible control of such diseases as leukemia, tumors, hepatic disorders, etc. The toxicity of pure 6-MP has been compared with that of 6-mercaptopurine-palladium complex to determine if the metallic complex would cause a reduction in leukocyte count without the toxicity generally associated with 6-MP administration. Considerable study has been conducted using 6-MP in chicks, rats, mice and dogs but only a minimum amount of study has been done utilizing non-human primates. Six-mercaptopurine investigations in man have been limited for obvious reasons and the possibility of using such an agent effectively and safely in the human species deserves more extensive consideration with subjects as closely related to man as possible. Lewis and co-workers at Prairie View A. and M. College initiated investigations using marmosets, a species of primates in 1969. Several advantages were associated with this investigation; namely, the marmosets were readily obtained from a research group currently using this species in other studies; they were small enough to be housed and handled fairly easily; and they represented a close relationship to man with which 6-MP toxicity data could be correlated. Consequently, an objective of this study was to determine the feasibility of utilizing the marmoset as an experimental species in the search for an effective non-toxic leukopenia—inducing compound. Essential to the actual experimentation was the development of a suitable method of administering the selected oral doses of 6-MP and 6-MP-palladium complex. The methods attempted, the method finally accepted and the results of the experimentation with regard to the leukopenia induction capacity of 6-MP palladium complex in the non-human primate are reported herein.

Committee Chair/Advisor

R. W. Lewis

Committee Member

L. C. Collins


Prairie View A&M College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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