Author(s): McConnell MG, Simpson LL
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Abstract Strips of muscle from innervated and denervated rat hemidiaphragm were tested for sensitivity to acetylcholine and to carbachol. For both agonists, denervation (6-8 days) produced notable supersensitivity. However, the increase in sensitivity to acetylcholine (ca. 600-fold) was much greater than that to carbachol (ca. 51-fold). Denervation also produced an increase in [3H]alpha-bungarotoxin binding (ca. 20-fold), presumably indicative of an increase in the number of acetylcholine receptors. In addition to causing increases in tissue sensitivity and receptor number, denervation caused a marked loss of acetylcholinesterase activity (ca. 70\%) and a modest loss of butyrylcholinesterase activity (ca. 20\%). When innervated muscle was pretreated with eserine (5 X 10(-5) M), there was a loss of acetylcholinesterase activity (ca. 86\%) and butyrylcholinesterase activity (ca. 36\%). Simultaneously, there was an increase in tissue sensitivity to acetylcholine (ca. 26-fold). When denervated muscle was pretreated with eserine, there was no loss of enzyme activity beyond that caused by denervation. Furthermore, eserine pretreatment did not increase denervated muscle sensitivity to acetylcholine. The data suggest that both an increase in acetylcholine receptors and a decrease in acetylcholinesterase activity contribute to the phenomenon of denervation supersensitivity.
This article was published in J Pharmacol Exp Ther
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation