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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

In vitro acetylcholine biosynthesis in normal and failing guinea pig hearts.

Choline acetyltransferase activity, which is rate limiting in acetylcholine biosynthesis, was measured in the four heart chambers of guinea pigs subjected to (1) sham surgery, (2) constriction of the ascending aorta, (3) constriction of the descending thoracic aorta, and (4) constriction of the pulmonary artery. After 30 days when hypertrophy and heart failure were fully established, choline acetyltransferase was quantified in vitro by a radiochemical assay. In the sham-operated group, enzyme activity expressed in terms of unit weight of cardiac tissue was greatest in the right atrium and the right ventricle and lower in th left atrium and the left ventricle (3.62 plus or minus 0.30, 2.96 plus or minus 0.52, 1.64 plus or minus 0.15, and 1.67 plus or minus 0.22 nmoles/min g-1, respectively). Enzyme activity was reduced (P less than 0.05) in the right atria and the right ventricles of guinea pigs with constriction of the pulmonary artery (1.68 plus or minus 0.37 and 1.31 plus or minus 0.29 nmoles/min g-1, respectively). Enzyme activity also tended to be reduced in the left atria and the left ventricles of guinea pigs with constriction of the aorta. These changes represented a relative dilution of enzyme activity per unit weight but not an absolute depletion, since choline acetyltransferase activity per ventricle was not reduced. The absence of significant changes in the total amount of the neuronal enzyme, choline acetyltransferase, per ventricle contrasted with the observed increases in the myocardial enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase. These results confirm the presence of significant parasympathetic innervation of the ventricles as well as the atria but do not demonstrate alterations in parasympathetic neurotransmitter biosynthesis in hypertrphied and failing myocardium. The absence of absolute reductions in choline acetyltransferase activity in hypertrophied and failing ventricle contrasts strikingly with the previously reported reductions in tyrosine hydroxylase, which is rate limiting in sympathetic neurotransmitter biosynthesis.[1]


  1. In vitro acetylcholine biosynthesis in normal and failing guinea pig hearts. Roskoski, R., Schmid, P.G., Mayer, H.E., Abboud, F.M. Circ. Res. (1975) [Pubmed]
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