Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 409, Issue 4–5, pp 533–539 | Cite as

Distinct sites of action of clostridial neurotoxins revealed by double-poisoning of mouse motor nerve terminals

  • Matthias Gansel
  • Reinhold Penner
  • Florian Dreyer
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


(1) We investigated the effects of single- and double-poisoning with tetanus toxin (TeTx), botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoTx A) and botulinum neurotoxin type B (BoTx B) on spontaneous and nerve-evoked quantal transmitter release at motor endplates of the triangularis sterni preparation of the mouse. (2) Inhibitory effects of TeTx and BoTx B on spontaneous and nerve-evoked transmitter release were very similar, except that the action of BoTx B required 500-fold lower concentrations and was less dependent on temperature. BoTx A caused stronger inhibition of quantal release than TeTx or BoTx B, but was comparatively much easier counteracted by 4-aminopyridine (4-AP). (3) In contrast to BoTx A, with TeTx or BoTx B the increase of transmitter release following onset of 50 Hz nerve stimulation was delayed for a few seconds and synaptic latencies of quanta showed large variations. This release pattern was also evident in all double-poisoning experiments, regardless of intoxication sequence. (4) Inhibition of evoked release was found to be slightly stronger with TeTx than with BoTx B, so the amount of nerve-evoked quanta released after double-poisoning with any sequence of these toxins always approached that of TeTx. In no case supraadditive actions were observed. (5) A strong reduction of evoked quanta was observed when BoTx A was applied in addition to either of the two other toxins. With reversed poisoning sequences (BoTx A-TeTx or BoTx A-BoTx B) the resulting values remained at the extremely low level of BoTx A. (6) In the presence of 4-AP double-poisoning with any combination between BoTx A and TeTx or BoTx B (regardless of intoxication sequence) revealed supra-additive effects, since the number of quanta released was considerably lower than that obtained with any of the toxins alone (in the presence of 4-AP). (7) Our results indicate that tetanus toxin and botulinum toxin type B have a common site of action which is different and independent from that of botulinum toxin type A.

Key words

Neurotoxin Transmitter release Neuromuscular junction Tetanus toxin Botulinum toxin 4-Aminopyridine 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Gansel
    • 1
  • Reinhold Penner
    • 1
  • Florian Dreyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Rudolf-Buchheim-Institut für PharmakologieJustus-Liebig-UniversitätGiessenGermany

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