Mechanisms of anticholinesterase-induced myopathy and its prevention

  • Sudip K. Das

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In the introduction a brief outline of the possible mechanisms involved in the process of cellular necrosis with particular emphasis on skeletal muscle necrosis after antiChE is discussed. Ecothiopate (ECO), an antiChE, was shown to produce dose-dependent inhibition of both AChE and BuChE in diaphragm and blood of mice. Inhibition of AChE resulted in dose-dependent influx of calcium at the junctional region with the consequent development of morphological and biochemical alterations. Non-necrotising doses of ECO caused hypercontractions of varying severity, distorted end plate and slight elevation of serum creatine kinase (CK). Necrotising doses of ECO further caused contraction clumps, loss of striations and procion staining with high serum CK. The extent of ECO-induced myopathy depended on entry of extracellular calcium rather than the degree of AChE inhibition. The essential Ca2+ mediated process(es) in ECO-induced myopathy was thought to be the generation of superoxide and superoxide-derived free radicals and/or lipid peroxidation. Mitochondria and xanthine oxidase may be the major contributors to the generation of superoxide. No evidence was found for the depletion of high energy phosphates. ECO-induced myopathy could be successfully prevented by prior administration of pyridostigmine or various antioxidants, the most effective being Vit E or Vit E + N-acetylcysteine. Allopurinol or N-acetylcysteine alone were also effective. However, the use of a wide range of membrane end plate channel blockers or non-quantal release blockers were unsuccessful in the prevention of ECO-induced myopathy.
Date of Award1989
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorFerry Ossendorp (Supervisor)


  • anticholinesterase-induced myopathy
  • prevention

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