The effects of nerve section on the non-quantal release of ACh from the motor nerve terminal

Elis F. Stanley, Daniel B. Drachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The spontaneous release of acetylcholine (ACh) from motor nerve terminals is now thought to occur by two mechanisms: (a) quantal release, giving rise to miniature endplate potentials; and (b) non-quantal release. In this study we have examined the effect of nerve section on spontaneous non-quantal ACh release, and have compared the time-course of cessation of non-quantal and quantal ACh release. Non-quantal ACh release, measured by an electrophysiological technique, declined 4 h after nerve section to approximately 50% of the control value. At 8-10 h it briefly rose again, then gradually declined to undetectable levels. Spontaneous quantal release (frequency of miniature endplate potentials) in the same muscle fibers remained close to control levels for 8 h after nerve section, and also increased prior to failure. Decline of non-quantal ACh release appears to be the earliest change in the nerve terminal following nerve transection; it may therefore be relevant in understanding the effects of denervation on the consequent changes in muscle properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-292
Number of pages4
JournalBrain research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 19 1986


  • acetycholine release
  • neuromuscular transmission
  • non-quantal transmitter release
  • trophic regulation of muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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