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J Neurochem. 1992 Mar;58(3):1038-44.

On the mechanism of ouabain-induced release of acetylcholine from synaptosomes.

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Department of Veterinary Pharmacology, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Japan.


Ouabain (5 x 10(-8)-5 x 10(-4) M) was confirmed to cause a dose-dependent increase in [3H]acetylcholine ([3H]ACh) release, cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i), and 22Na+ uptake in cerebrocortical synaptosomes of rats in the presence of extracellular Ca2+. Ouabain also caused a dose-dependent decrease in membrane potential. In a low-Na+ (10 mM) medium, ouabain failed to increase [3H]ACh release and [Ca2+]i. Tetrodotoxin (10(-6) M) had no effect on the ouabain-induced increase in both [3H]ACh release and [Ca2+]i but abolished the increase in 22Na+ uptake and partially inhibited the depolarizing effect. Verapamil (10(-6)-5 x 10(-4) M) inhibited the ouabain-induced increase in both [3H]ACh release and [Ca2+]i in a dose-dependent manner. Removal of extracellular Ca2+ abolished the effect of ouabain on [Ca2+]i but not on [3H]ACh release and 22Na+ uptake, regardless of the presence or absence of EGTA. In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, 10 mM Mg2+ blocked ouabain-induced [3H]ACh release, which was resistant to verapamil. These results suggest that ouabain can increase ACh release from synaptosomes without the preceding increases in intracellular Ca2+ and/or Na+ content. It seems likely that the removal of extracellular Ca2+ unmasks mechanisms of ouabain action different from those operating in the presence of Ca2+.

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