Visit the
Molecular Expressions Website

Galleria
Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Chip Shots
Screen Savers
Museum
Web Resources
Primer
Java Microscopy
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Publications
Custom Photos
Image Use
Contact Us
Search
Home

Chemical Crystal Movie Gallery

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequences

Dubbed the "French abortion pill" and the "month after pill", the pharmaceutical RU-486 was released to wide acceptance in Europe in 1988, but was delayed for licensing in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration until September 2000, because of political pressure against abortions. In France, where the drug was developed, about one-third of all abortions are performed using the synthetic steroidal hormone.

Known to doctors as mifepristone and to pharmacists by the trade name Mifeprex, RU-486 is a synthesized prostaglandin that interferes with progesterone metabolism. By making the uterine lining inhospitable to the developing embryo, the zygote fails to attach, is deprived of nutrients, and is miscarried. Administered as a three-tablet regimen, a mifepristone dose is taken first, followed two days later by two misoprostol tablets, the latter causing contractions and expulsion of the uterus' contents. As an at-home option and alternative to surgery, RU-486 provides a private procedure for terminating an early pregnancy. It can also function as a "morning-after pill" and as a menstrual initiator.

Originally named RU 38486 by French pharmaceutical company Roussel-Uclaf (thus "RU"), mifepristone forms a yellow powder with a molecular weight of 429.6, a melting point of 191 to 196 degrees Celsius, and is insoluble in water or hexane and very soluble in methanol, chloroform, and acetone. RU-486 acts as an antagonist for progesterone by binding to the progesterone site, tying itself to the hormone, and blocking its release. Mifepristone is a substituted 19-nor steroid compound designated by organic chemists as 11beta-[p-(Dimethylamino)phenyl]-17beta-hydroxy-17-(1-propynyl)estra-4,9-dien-3-one.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #1 - Fan-like edges of large, growing spherulites advance into the viewfield in this time-lapse sequence of 26 images.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #2 - A 30-image time-lapse sequence illustrates the merging edges of several large spherulites.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #3 - As spherulites form and grow in size within the viewfield they intersect the edges of even-larger crystallites as they enter the field from the margins in a sequence of 35 images.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #4 - The growth of a number of spherulitic crystallites is illustrated in a time-lapse sequence of 38 images.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #5 - This sequence of 38 time-lapse images displays birefringence of a beautiful uniform blue that gives the growing spherulites a metallic appearance.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #6 - In this 20-image sequence, several spherulites grow in size followed by the filling of the space between them with crystalline material that appears to be deformed or incomplete fragments.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #7 - A time-lapse sequence of 27 images illustrates the growth of spherulites.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #8 - Intersecting spherulites grow into a confluent field in a sequence of 26 images.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #9 - A 33-image time-lapse sequence illustrates crystallizing spherulites as they advance toward the center of the viewfield from the margins.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #10 - This 23-image sequence illustrates the converging growth of spherulites of a variety of sizes.

RU-486 Time Lapse Sequence #11 - A time-lapse sequence of 49 images shows the formation of several complete spherulites followed by the appearance of regions of apparently-deformed or fragmented material.

Contributing Authors

Omar Alvarado, Thomas J. Fellers and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.


BACK TO THE CHEMICAL CRYSTAL MOVIE GALLERY

BACK TO THE DIGITAL IMAGE GALLERIES

Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1995-2013 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, software, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last Modification Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 11:44 AM
Access Count Since September 17, 2002: 14154
Visit the website of our partner in introductory microscopy education: