• guinea pig;
  • acetylcholinesterase;
  • movement;
  • light-emitting reaction


Acetylcholinesterase is secreted in the central nervous system (independently of cholinergic transmission) in a non-classic, non-enzymatic capacity. A light-emitting reaction has recently been established that demonstrates release of this protein from the substantia nigra of a guinea pig with a temporal resolution corresponding to real time, i.e. ‘on-line’. In this study the technique has been applied to investigate the significance of this novel phenomenon in the generation of specific types of movement. During locomotion a ‘pulsatile’ release of acetylcholinesterase occurs much more frequently than in other situations. However, these pulses of released acetylcholinesterase are of shorter duration than the respective periods of locomotion that caused them. Furthermore, as episodes of movement are repeated, the release of acetylcholinesterase becomes less likely. These observations suggest that the phenomenon does not simply reflect ongoing movement. Indeed, chewing behaviour is frequently initiated when acetylcholinesterase release occurs during locomotor activity. Hence, acetylcholinesterase released in association with locomotion may favour the onset of further types of movement.