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Synthesis of acetylcholine by excitatory motoneurons in central nervous system of the leech

Abstract 1. A study was made of the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh) and other transmitters by the cell bodies of functionally identified neurons in leech segmental ganglia. 2. Choline acetyltransferase, the synthetic enzyme for ACh, was detected in excitatory motoneurons but not in mechanosensory cells or Retzius cells. The ability of motoneurons to synthesize ACh was also demonstrated by their accumulation of 3HACh following incubation of segmental ganglia with 3Hcholine. 3HACh was not detected in the other cell types. When eserine was included in 3Hcholine incubations, the amount of 3HACh in motoneurons increased severalfold and small amounts of 3HACh (1% that in motor cells) appeared in extracts of sensory and Retzius cells. 3. In addition to 3HACh segmental ganglia synthesized 3H5-HT, 3Hgamma-aminobutyric acid, 3Hdopamine, and 3Hoctopamine from exogenous, labeled precursors. None of these labeled transmitters was detected in identified neurons except 3H5-HT, which was found in Retzius cells. 4. These results provide biochemical evidence that excitatory motoneurons in the leech are cholinergic, but leave open the identity of the sensory transmitter(s). Copyright © 1977 the American Physiological Society http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Neurophysiology The American Physiological Society

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