Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 377, Issue 2, pp 147–153 | Cite as

The effect of hydrolytic enzymes on the acetylcholine sensitivity of the skeletal muscle cell membrane

  • Alan Jeffrey Harborne
  • Margaret Elizabeth Smith
  • Rosemary Jones
Excitable Tissues and Central Nervous Physiology


Isometric tension developed by rat soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in response to acetylcholine (Ach) applied in vitro was recorded. Tension of contractures elicited in response to Ach increased after muscles had been incubated with phospholipase C, pepsin, or soluble fractions prepared from muscle homogenate.

Using intracellular microelectrodes, resting membrane potential (RMP) and depolarisation in response to Ach added to the bathing medium were recorded in endplate-free regions of the muscle fibres. No significant change in RMP was observed in muscles incubated with soluble muscle fraction or phospholipase C, but depolarisation in response to Ach or carbachol was significantly increased. The time course for the increase in depolarisation and the contracture response to Ach was similar.

When all available receptors were blocked with α-bungarotoxin prior to incubation so that no response to Ach could be elicited, with subsequent incubation in muscle soluble fraction or phospholipase C, both contractures and depolarisation in response to Ach returned. These results support the hypothesis that receptors, not previously available to interact with Ach or α-bungarotoxin were revealed following incubation.

Key words

Acetylcholine receptors Skeletal muscle Muscle chemosensitivity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Jeffrey Harborne
    • 1
  • Margaret Elizabeth Smith
    • 1
  • Rosemary Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyMedical SchoolBirminghamUK

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