Acetylcholine sensitivity of developing ectopic nerve-muscle junctions in adult rat soleus muscles

J Physiol. 1980 Jun;303:173-89. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1980.sp013279.


1. The development of junctional ACh sensitivity has been studied during the formation of ectopic nerve-muscle junctions (n.m.j.s) between the superficial fibular nerve and the denervated soleus muscle of adult rats. 2. When the soleus nerve was cut 2 weeks or more after implanting the fibular nerve, spontaneous m.e.p.p.s and evoked e.p.p.s were first detected in the vicinity of the fibular nerve sprouts 2.5-3 days later. At this time, peaks of local ACh sensitivity greater than the high level of extrajunctional sensitivity induced by denervation were found near the sprouts of the fibular nerve. 3. During the first week of foreign innervation, the extrajunctional sensitivity of the newly innervated muscle fibres fell, but the peaks of sensitivity in the region of the fibular nerve sprouts persisted. Many of these peaks occurred at sites of transmitter release from the fibular nerve terminals. Each innervated fibre had from 1-8 such peaks. 4. When the fibular nerve was cut 2 days or more after cutting the soleus nerve peaks of ACh sensitivity persisted in the region of the degenerated foreign nerve terminals even if the extrajunctional sensitivity was abolished by direct electrical stimulation of the muscle starting soon after cutting the fibular nerve. 5. When the fibular nerve was left intact, more than half of the peaks of sensitivity formed initially in the region of the foreign nerve sprouts had disappeared 2-3 weeks after cutting the soleus nerve. 6. We conclude that during the formation of ectopic n.m.j.s in adult rat muscle the foreign nerve terminals bring about two types of long-lasting change in the distribution and stability of the underlying ACh sensitivity in the muscle fibre membrane; an increase and stabilization of sensitivity at sites of transmitter release which occurs by the time functional transmission at the newly formed n.m.j.s can be detected, and a loss of sensitivity at some of the sites which takes place about 1-2 weeks later.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Motor Endplate / physiology
  • Muscle Denervation
  • Muscles / innervation*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Receptors, Cholinergic
  • Acetylcholine