• Rat skeletal muscle;
  • Short-term denervation;
  • G4 acetylcholinesterase;
  • Acetylcholine;
  • Acetylcholine receptors

Abstract: The present work addresses the effects of shortterm denervation on acetylcholinesterase (AChE; EC isoenzymes in anterior gracilis muscles from adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. It examines possible relationships between AChE isoform changes and other denervation phenomena, and evaluates the importance of acetylcholine (ACh)-nicotinic receptor interactions in selectively modulating the activity of G4 AChE. Results confirm that denervation causes a specific, transient increase in G4 AChE and show that: most of the increment can be explained by the hydrophobic species of this isoenzyme; changes in AChE isoforms markedly precede the onset of spontaneous electromechanical activity (fibrillation), as well as acetylcholine receptor (AChR) proliferation; and the G4 AChE response is eliminated when AChRs are blocked by α-bungarotoxin treatment performed before but not after (24 h) denervation. These data point to the absence of direct causal relationships between the G4 AChE increment and fibrillation, AChR proliferation, or changes in the release of this isoform from denervated muscle. In turn, they suggest the participation of AChR activation in triggering the G4 AChE response and emphasize the possible role of ACh-AChR interactions in modulating the production of this isoenzyme in not only denervated but also innervated fast-twitch muscles.