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Effect of p-nitrophenyl diazonium fluoroborate on cholinergic mechanisms

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Summary

Electrophysiological experiments were done to investigate the effect of p-nitrophenyl diazonium fluoroborate (p-NPD) on motor endplates of the frog's m. cutaneus pectoris. The compound has no direct depolarizing effect on the postsynaptic membrane and stabilizes it irreversibly when added to the bath. Longtime iontophoretical applications of p-NPD produce a biphasic effect: initially a potentiation of the depolarizations due to acetylcholine (ACh) (both iontophoretically applied and presynaptically liberated), and subsequently an inhibition of the response to ACh. When the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is inactivated previously, only the inhibiting effect of the compound is demonstrable.

The association constant of p-NPD to purified AChE and to membrane fragments of electroplax was determined by biochemical methods. The compound's affinity to the AChE was found to be about 20 times greater than to the acetylcholine receptor (AChR).

Iontophoretical application of p-NPD to cholinergic neurons in the hippocampal cortex of the cat also produced the characteristic biphasic effect on ACh-induced activity of these investigated neurons.

The results suggest that the biphasic effect depends on the capacity of p-NPD to combine with both the AChE and the AChR. The AChE is first inhibited with low concentrations thereby potentiating the ACh response. At higher concentrations the AChR's are progressively inhibited too, thereby diminishing the excitability of the postsynaptic membrane up to a complete block.

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Correspondence to C. G. Caratsch.

Additional information

With the aid of grants No. 3.211.73 and No. 3.534.0.75 of the Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research.

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Caratsch, C.G., Waser, P.G., Spiess, C. et al. Effect of p-nitrophenyl diazonium fluoroborate on cholinergic mechanisms. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch. Pharmacol. 294, 61–68 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00692785

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Key words

  • p-Nitrophenyl diazonium fluoroborate
  • Cholinergic neurons
  • Acetylcholine receptor
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Affinity labelling