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December 1972

Choline Acetyltransferase and Acetylcholinesterase: Their Role in the Causes of Myasthenia Gravis

Author Affiliations

La Jolla, Calif
From the departments of neurosciences and pediatrics, and the Division of Neurology, University Hospital, University of California at San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla, Calif.

Arch Neurol. 1972;27(6):521-525. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490180057013

Choline acetyltransferase, acetylcholinesterase, and pseudocholinesterase levels were measured in needle biopsy samples of deltoid muscle from subjects with myasthenia gravis and from normal controls. Choline acetyltransferase activities were about 30% lower and acetylcholinesterase activities about 45% lower in myasthenics as compared with controls. These decreased activities, however, are not significant in the cause of the disease; it is postulated that the primary defect at the neuromuscular junction may be the presence of a false transmitter in the synaptic vesicle or defective release of the vesicle contents at the synaptic cleft.