Characteristics and Significance of Sodium-Dependent, High Affinity Choline Uptake

  • M. J. Kuhar
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 24)


The notion that choline (Ch) transport is an important aspect of a functioning cholinergic nerve terminal has long been suspected and now seems firmly established. In a classic study of acetylcholine (ACh) metabolism in the sympathetic ganglion of the cat, Birks and MacIntosh (5) made the following statements, which in light of the developments of the last 15 years are indeed remarkable:

“. . . the nerve endings must be remarkably efficient in extracting choline from the extracellular fluid. The superior cervical ganglion preparation of the cat. . . will continue to release acetylcholine. . . during an indefinitely long period of preganglionic stimulation. This acetylcholine must be derived from plasma choline. . . the nerve endings are therefore able to take up and acetylate choline supplied to the ganglion during the few seconds required for the plasma to pass through the ganglionic vessels. Since choline as a quaternary base diffuses slowly into most cells, and since the nerve endings can form only a small part of the bulk of the ganglion, this fact is rather remarkable. It suggests that the endings. . . must be provided with some special mechanism for the entry of choline ions. . .. it seems very likely that some sort of choline carrier, located in a membrane lying between the extracellular fluid and the sites of acetylcholine formation, is a constant feature of cholinergic mechanisms.” (5).


Transport System Cholinergic Neuron Affinity System Cholinergic Mechanism High Affinity Transport 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Kuhar
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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