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

Ultrastructural localization of non-specific cholinesterase activity in rat muscle spindles.

Electron microscopical localization of non-specific cholinesterase activity was studied in the encapsulated part of rat hindlimb muscle spindles. After incubation of the muscle tissue in a medium containing butyrylthiocholine bromide as substrate and BW284c51 as the specific inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, a distinct electron-dense precipitate corresponding to non-specific cholinesterase activity was found along the whole length of muscle spindles. The richest source of non-specific cholinesterase activity were the motor end-plates present in the polar and juxtaequatorial regions. Much smaller amounts of reaction deposits were found at the secondary sensory terminals in the juxtaequatorial zones. The primary sensory terminals in the equatorial zone contained only low amounts of the reaction product. A fine homogeneous reaction product was localized in the narrow spaces between Schwann cell processes or in gaps between the Schwann cell, and axonal and muscle membranes. A granular precipitate was localized on the basal lamina in the synapse region of motor terminals or covering Schwann cell processes and sensory terminals with adjacent intrafusal muscle fibres. Our results suggest that most of non-specific cholinesterase in muscle spindles is synthesized by the Schwann cells; but a small amount can also be synthesized by fibroblast-like cells forming the inner capsule of muscle spindles. Non-specific cholinesterase thus coexists with acetylcholinesterase at motor end-plates, but is single at sensory terminals. The function of non-specific cholinesterase in sensory receptors is still not clear. It seems most probable that non-specific cholinesterase in muscle spindles may play a role in the maintenance of the external milieu around nerve endings, especially in the sensory region.[1]


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