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Recovery of mouse neuromuscular junctions from single and repeated injections of botulinum neurotoxin A

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alexander Rogozhin, Dr Ki Pang, Emeritus Professor Clarke Slater



Botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNT/A) paralyses muscles by blocking acetylcholine (ACh) release from motor nerve terminals. Although highly toxic, it is used clinically to weaken muscles whose contraction is undesirable, as in dystonias. The effects of an injection of BoNT/A wear off after 3-4 months so repeated injections are often used. Recovery of neuromuscular transmission is accompanied by the formation of motor axon sprouts, some of which form new synaptic contacts. However, the functional importance of these new contacts is unknown. Using intracellular and focal extracellular recording we show that in the mouse epitrochleoanconeus (ETA), quantal release from the region of the original neuromuscular junction (NMJ) can be detected as soon as from new synaptic contacts, and generally accounts for > 80% of total release. During recovery the synaptic delay and the rise and decay times of endplate potentials (EPPs) become prolonged approximately 3-fold, but return to normal after 2-3 months. When studied after 3-4 months, the response to repetitive stimulation at frequencies up to 100 Hz is normal. When two or three injections of BoNT/A are given at intervals of 3-4 months, quantal release returns to normal values more slowly than after a single injection (11 and 15 weeks to reach 50% of control values versus 6 weeks after a single injection). In addition, branching of the intramuscular muscular motor axons, the distribution of the NMJs and the structure of many individual NMJs remain abnormal. These findings highlight the plasticity of the mammalian NMJ but also suggest important limits to it. © 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 The Physiological Society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rogozhin A, Pang K, Bukharaeva E, Young C, Slater C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Physiology

Year: 2008

Volume: 586

Issue: 13

Pages: 3163-3182

ISSN (print): 0022-3751

ISSN (electronic): 1469-7793

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.153569


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