Analysis of anticholinesterase-induced neuromuscular transmission failure

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35 Scopus citations


To define the underlying mechanism of neuromuscular transmission failure induced by anticholinesterases, we simultaneously performed surface recordings of compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs) and intracellular recordings of miniature end-plate potentials (MEPPs), miniature end-plate current (MEPCs), and end-plate potential (EPPs) in rat diaphragms exposed in vitro to 1 x 10-4 to 2 x 10-2 mmol/L neostigmine methylsulfate. At low concentrations of neostigmine, repetitive stimulation of the phrenic nerve resulted in decrement followed by complete recuperation of CMAP amplitudes. This bimodal pattern was associated with maximal end-plate depolarization at the beginning of the stimulation period, increased MEPP amplitudes, and prolonged time constants of MEPC decays. Higher concentrations of neostigmine resulted in a unimodal decline of amplitudes of CMAPs and EPPS, reduced MEPP amplitudes, and a double exponential time course of MEPC decays. These results indicate that low concentrations of anticholinesterases impaired neuromuscular transmission by producing transient depolarization of the end- plate region. Higher concentrations induced desensitization and direct blockade of the end-plate receptor channel, probably in its open conformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-553
Number of pages6
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993


  • end-plate
  • neuromuscular transmission
  • organophosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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