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Science. 1995 Sep 8;269(5229):1446-50.

Decreased muscarinic receptor binding in the arcuate nucleus in sudden infant death syndrome.

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Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.


Muscarinic cholinergic activity in the human arcuate nucleus at the ventral medullary surface is postulated to be involved in cardiopulmonary control. A significant decrease in [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate binding to muscarinic receptors in the arcuate nucleus is now shown to occur in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) infants, compared to infants dying acutely of known causes. In infants with chronic oxygenation abnormalities, binding is low in other nuclei, as well as in the arcuate nucleus. The binding deficit in the arcuate nucleus of SIDS infants might contribute to a failure of responses to cardiopulmonary challenges during sleep.

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