Presynaptic snake β-neurotoxins produce tetanic fade and endplate potential run-down during neuromuscular blockade in mouse diaphragm
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The present study investigated the ability of a number of presynaptic snake neurotoxins (snake β-neurotoxins) to produce nerve-evoked train-of-four fade, tetanic fade and endplate potential run-down during the development of neuromuscular blockade in the isolated mouse phrenic-hemidiaphragm nerve-muscle preparation. All the snake β-neurotoxins tested, with the exception of notexin, produced train-of-four and tetanic fade of nerve-evoked isometric muscle contractions. Train-of-four fade was not present during the initial depressant or facilitatory phases of muscle tension produced by the snake β-neurotoxins but developed progressively during the final depressant phase that precedes complete neuromuscular blockade. The ‘non-neurotoxic’ bovine pancreatic phospholipase A2 and the ‘low-toxicity’ phospholipase A2 from Naja naja atra venom failed to elicit train-of-four fade, indicating that the phospholipase activity of the snake β-neurotoxins is not responsible for the development of fade. Intracellular recording of endplate potentials (EPPs) elicited by nerve-evoked trains of stimuli showed a progressive run-down in EPP amplitude during the train following incubation with all snake β-neurotoxins except notexin. Again this run-down in EPP amplitude was confined to the final depressant phase of snake β-neurotoxin action. However when EPP amplitude fell to near uniquantal levels (<3mV) the extent of toxin induced-fade was reduced. Unlike postjunctional snake α-neurotoxins, prejunctional snake β-neurotoxins interfere with acetylcholine release at the neuromuscular junction during the development of neuromuscular blockade. This study provides further support for the hypothesis that fade in twitch and tetanic muscle tension is due to an underlying rundown in EPP amplitude resulting from a prejunctional alteration of transmitter release rather than a use-dependent block of postjunctional nicotinic receptors.
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