Pre- and postnatal development and drug induced alterations of free and bound acetylcholine in rat brain

  • H. Kewitz
  • O. Pleul
  • E. Mann


The concentration of free acetylcholine (AcCh), interpreted that in nerve cell bodies and axons, labile bound AcCh, considered that in the cytoplasma of nerve endings, and stable bound AcCh, probably located in the synaptic vesicles, were measured in the developing rat brain from day 17 of gestation to maturation after birth. Five days before birth AcCh in fetal brain amounted to 24% of the concentration in the brain of adults. In fetal brain 80% was free and 20% labile bound AcCh. Stable bound AcCh appeared firstly on the day before birth. In the brain of the adult rats there were 5.05 nmol/g free, 6.20 nmol/g labile bound, and 3.62 nmol/g stable bound AcCh. The concentration of free AcCh in the fetal brains was up to the level in adult animals immediately after birth, while the labile bound AcCh was still growing until 20th day after birth and stable bound AcCh was increasing for further two months at least.

The development of the AcCh fractions could be related to data on the morphological development and differentiation and also the appearance of brain functions known from the literature.

DFP (1.8 mg/kg), urethane (1.5 g/kg), and atropine (25 mg/kg) applied to the mothers influenced the AcCh concentration in fetal brain almost the same as in the mothers.

Key words

Brain development Acetylcholine Cholinesterase inhibitors General anesthetics Anticholinergics 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Kewitz
    • 1
  • O. Pleul
    • 1
  • E. Mann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Klinische PharmakologieFreie Universität Berlin, Klinikum SteglitzBerlin 45

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