AbstractThe experiments described in this thesis compared conventional methods of screening for neurotoxins with potential electrophysiological and pharmacological tests in an attempt to improve the sensitivity of detection of progressive distal neuropathy.
Adult male albino mice were dosed orally with the neurotoxicant acylamide and subjected to a test of limb strength and co-ordination and a functional observational battery. These methods established a no observable effect level of 10 mg/kg. A dose of 200 mg/kg resulted in abnormalities of gait and reduced limb strength and/or co-ordination.
Analysis of the in vitro 'jitter' of the latency of trains of action potentials evoked at a frequency of 30 Hz in the mouse phrenic nerve/hemidiaphragm preparation showed this technique to be unsuitable for detection of the early phases of acrylamide induced peripheral neuropathy (l00 mg/kg).
The evoked and spontaneous twitch responses of the hemidiaphragm preparation following in vitro exposure to the organophosphorous anticholinesterase compound ecothiopate were altered by in vivo pre treatment with acrylamide. Acrylamide caused an increase in the time course of the potentiation of stimulated twitches and a decrease in the maximum potentiation. Spontaneous twitches were reduced in amplitude and frequency. These effects occurred at an acrylamide dose level insufficient to cause clinical signs of neuropathy.
Investigations into the mechanisms underlying these observations yielded the following observations. Analysis of miniature endplate potentials at this dose level indicated prolongation of the life of acetylcholine in the synaptic cleft but the implied decrease in cholinesterase activity could not be demonstrated biochemically or histologically. The electrical excitability of the nerve terminal region of phrenic motor nerves was reduced following acrylamide although a possible compromise of antidromic action potential conduction could not be confirmed. There was no histopathological evidence of neuropathy at this dose level.
Further exploration of this phenomenon is desirable in order to ascertain whether the effect is specific to acrylamide and/or ecothiopate and to elucidate the mechanisms behind these novel observations.
|Date of Award||Mar 1996|
|Supervisor||Brian Ferry (Supervisor)|
- nerve terminal