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J Neurosci Methods. 1994 Jul;53(1):81-5.

Brain fixation for acetylcholine measurements.

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Laboratoire de Pharmacodynamie, Faculté de Pharmacie, Dijon, France.


Brain fixation using a commercially available microwave oven (power output: 750 W) has been investigated as a means for enzyme inactivation preventing post-mortem changes in brain acetylcholine (ACh) and choline (Ch) levels. Rats and mice were decapitated, and the severed heads immediately irradiated for 5.5 and 3 s, respectively, resulting in a complete inactivation of brain acetylcholine esterase (AChE) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). The ACh and Ch contents measured in various brain regions of rat and mouse were: (in rat) striatum 60.5 and 32.4 nmol/g, hippocampus 20.4 and 30.9 nmol/g, cortex 24.2 and 19.6 nmol/g; (in mouse) striatum 70 and 47.2 nmol/g, hippocampus 22. 1 and 30.2 nmol/g, cortex 22.9 and 27.9 nmol/g. These values were found in accordance with those reported in the literature by irradiating whole animals in instruments of higher power capabilities. Thus, the procedure described in the present work may be a simple and valuable means of brain fixation for neurochemical studies of brain ACh in small animal species.

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