Development of synaptic currents in immobilized muscle of Xenopus laevis.
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The effect of chronic immobilization on the development of synaptic currents was studied in myotomal muscle of Xenopus laevis. Embryos and tadpoles were immobilized by rearing them in the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX) after removal of the egg membranes. Immobilization did not affect the developmental change in duration of miniature end-plate currents (m.e.p.c.s). Rise times decreased from about 3 to 0.6 ms in both immobilized and control muscle, and decay constants decreased from about 7 to 1 - 2 ms in both conditions. M.e.p.c.s with double exponential decays were recorded in both immobilized and control muscle at intermediate and late developmental stages. The fast and slow decay constants were 0.7 ms and slightly less than 3 ms in older muscle of both groups. These values are comparable to the apparent open times of fast and slow ACh receptors present on Xenopus muscle. Application of an anticholinesterase (methanesulphonyl fluoride) lengthened the duration of m.e.p.c.s comparably in immobilized and control muscle. These data indicate that the deposition of junctional acetylcholinesterase and the reduction in open time of acetylcholine receptor channels in developing Xenopus myotomal muscle are independent of contractile activity of muscle and TTX-blockable action potentials in muscle or motoneurones.
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