The pharmacology of a possible false cholinergic transmitter, (2-hydroxyethyl) methyldiethylammonium (diethylcholine, DEC) was studied with various preparations. It was found to inhibit the neuromuscular transmission of frog sciatic nerve-gastrocnemius muscle in vitro with ED50of 1.93 (0.66 - 5.79) × 10-4M. DEC was also found to inhibit dog chorda tympani-Wharton's duct (postganglionic parasympathetic neuro-effector junction) and cat superior cervical ganglionnictitating membrane (sympathetic ganglion) preparations in vivo with ED50's of 6.2 (1.8 - 21.1) mg/kg and 12.0 (5.7 - 25.2) mg/kg, respectively. After blockade of these preparations with DEC, the former was still responsive to intravenous injection of pilocarpine (1 mg/kg) and choline (10 mg/kg) and the latter to close arterial injection of acetylcholine (100 μg/injection) and choline (3 mg/min infusion). These results support the idea that DEC paralyzes cholinergic neurons possibly through false cholinergic transmission without blocking the cholinergic receptor at the post-junctional membrane. © 1975.
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