In vitro microelectrode study of neuromuscular transmission in a case of botulism

Ricardo A Maselli, M. E. Burnett, J. H. Tonsgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We performed in vitro microelectrode studies in the anconeus muscle biopsy of a 6-week-old infant intoxicated with Clostridium botulinum toxin B. The most striking abnormalities were the severe reduction of the endplate potential (EPP) quantal content and the marked variability of EPP latencies. The increased variability was often limited to a 'single quantum' component of the EPP. Neither the amplitudes nor the frequencies of spontaneous miniature endplate potentials (MEEPs) were decreased. However, there was a wide range of amplitudes and frequencies of MEPPs. This unique combination of electrophysiologic findings indicates a severe presynaptic failure of neuromuscular transmission, which appears to result from an impairment of the process of synaptic vesicle release taking place after the stimulus induced influx of calcium into the motor nerve terminals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-276
Number of pages4
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • botulism
  • miniature endplate potential
  • neuromuscular transmission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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