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January 1977

Acetylcholine Receptor Protein: Neuromuscular Transmission in Immunized Rabbits

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Clinical Neurophysiology (Dr Elmqvist), University Hospital, the Department of Pharmacology, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden (Drs Lundh and Libelius), and the Section of Biochemistry, National Defense Research Institute, Sundbyberg, Sweden (Drs Mattsson and Heilbronn).

Arch Neurol. 1977;34(1):7-11. doi:10.1001/archneur.1977.00500130027005

• Rabbits injected with purified acetylcholine (ACh) receptor protein produce antibodies against the receptor and develop generalized muscle weakness. The compound muscle action potentials show a decremental fall in amplitude with repetitive nerve stimulation. Both the weakness and the decrement is counteracted by reversible cholinesterase inhibitors. Intracellular recordings from muscle end-plates show that the amplitude of the miniature end-plate potentials is considerably reduced. A reduced binding of neurotoxin to muscles from immunized rabbits was observed. Nerve impulses release a normal number of ACh packages (quanta) from the motor nerve terminals. The muscle weakness in immunized rabbits thus has the same features as the muscle weakness in myasthenia gravis and may be a good animal model of myasthenia gravis.

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