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Abstract

The action of the transmitter acetylcholine (ACh) at the skeletal muscle postsynaptic end-plate membrane has been known for many years. There is an increase in permeability of this membrane to sodium and potassium ions which in turn produces depolarization or ‘end-plate potential’ (for reviews see e.g. [1–3]). In recent years much work has been carried out with the aim of understanding the mechanism by which acetylcholine produces this increase in permeability at the postsynaptic membrane. One of the main recent advances which has given insight into these permeability changes is the technique of noise analysis [4–7]. This approach has allowed the study of acetylcholine and receptor interaction on the molecular level. When acetylcholine acts at the end- plate, it is now thought to cause brief openings of many channels in the postsynaptic membrane. When a channel is opened, sodium and potassium ions rush through it. The overall effect of these channels opening is an increase in permeability of the end-plate membrane. Noise analysis provides information on the length of time a channel stays open, the ionic current flow through a single channel, and how often channels are opened.

Keywords

Single Channel Slow Component Channel Conductance Fast Component Postsynaptic Membrane 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmacology DepartmentRoyal Free Hospital School of MedicineLondonUK

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