The effects of persistent articholinesterase action at the neuromuscular junction

  • John P. Bamforth

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The effects of organophosphorus compounds which form a rapidly-ageing complex with acetylcholinesterase (AChE) (e.g. pinacolyl S-(2- trimethylaminoethyl)methylphosphonothioate (BOS)) and hence exert a persistent anticholinesterase (anti-ChE) action have been compared with other compounds with a shorter time course of inhibition (e.g. ecothiopate iodide (ECO)). Although the inhibition of AChE produced by BOS lasted longer than that seen with ECO, the time course of the myopathy appeared very similar. BOS also possessed a number of properties which have been seen with other anti-ChEs. BOS and ECO produced significant increases in neuromuscular "jitter" 5 days after injection, not only in the diaphragm but also in the soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles. Increases in "jitter" produced by ECO could be prevented by pyridostigmine prophylaxis or rapid treatment with pyridine-2- aldoxime methiodide. Some protection from the BOS-induced increases in "jitter" could be gained by repeated treatment with pyridine-2-aldoxime methiodide, an effect which could not be accounted for simply by enzyme reactivation. From experiments performed in Rej 129 mice it was determined that increases in "jitter", although demonstrated in some dystrophic muscles, could not be used as an early diagnostic tool. Because sequalae of inhibition were present some time after intoxication, by which time AChE appeared biochemically normal, experiments were performed to investigate inactivation of physiologically important AChE. The time course of extracellular MEPPs was utilised as an indicator of physiologically important AChE and compared with the AChE activity measured by the technique of Ellman et al. (1961). It was concluded that the degree of persistence of anti-ChE action was unimportant for the induction of myopathy with a time course of 3-24 hours, but had some importance in events of longer duration.
Date of Award1989
Original languageEnglish


  • persistent articholinesterase action
  • neuromuscular junction

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