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Neuroscience. 1989;30(3):827-36.

Muscarinic inhibition of quantal transmitter release from the magnesium-paralysed frog sartorius muscle.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Medical College, St Bartholomew's Hospital, University of London, U.K.


The existence of presynaptic muscarinic acetylcholine receptors on motor nerve terminals of the isolated frog sartorius muscle was investigated. The modulatory role of these receptors was studied by observing the effects of muscarinic ligands on the frequency of miniature endplate potentials and on the quantal content of endplate potentials. The agonist oxotremorine reduced in concentration-dependent fashion the frequency of spontaneous potentials and the amplitude of evoked potentials. Also, high concentrations of oxotremorine depolarized the postsynaptic membrane and reduced the amplitude of the miniature endplate potentials. The depolarizing action of the drug was blocked by D-tubocurarine. The muscarinic antagonist atropine attenuated agonist-induced reductions in endplate potential amplitude and miniature endplate potential frequency but did not affect the depression in amplitude of the spontaneous potentials evoked by oxotremorine. It is concluded that activation of presynaptic muscarinic receptors inhibits the release of acetylcholine from motor nerve terminals. Atropine itself had no effect on the quantal content of evoked potentials or on the frequency of spontaneous potentials suggesting that the nerve terminal is not affected by non-quantal acetylcholine.

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