Muscarinic receptor-dependent activation of phospholipase C in the developing human fetal central nervous system

Jorge N. Larocca, Alicia G. Rodriguez-Gabin, William K. Rashbaum, Karen M. Weidenheim, William D. Lyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The coupling of muscarinic-cholinergic receptors (mAChR) to adenylate cyclase and phospholipase C (PLC) second messenger systems has been demonstrated in many animal species. However, little is known about this association in the developing human central nervous system. Because of the proposed role of acetylcholine in the regulation of development and differentiation of neural cells, an understanding of these relationships during human fetal development gains importance. We report, in this communication, the coupling of mAChR with PLC in the human fetal brain. This coupling was determined using two independent approaches that relied upon estimating the accumulation of inositol phosphates (IPs) and cytidine diphosphate diacylglycerol (CDP-DAG). Carbachol treatment of brain slices, in the presence of lithium, resulted in the accumulation of IPs. Analysis of the kinetics of this accumulation showed that IP3 and IP2 increased rapidly, reaching a peak or plateau before IP. The results also showed that agonist-stimulated PLC produced two second messengers, IP3 and DAG. The production of DAG was strongly supported by the carbachol-dependent increase of CDP-DAG. The accumulation of IP and CDP-DAG was dependent on agonist concentration. The obtained EC50 values were approximately: carbachol 47 μM; acetylcholine 6 μM; and oxotremorine 25 μM. Unexpectedly, all three agonists demonstrated a similar efficacy. The cholinergic stimulation of inositide hydrolysis appears to be the result of activation of the m1 muscarinic receptor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 8 1994


  • Fetal CNS
  • Human neurodevelopment
  • Neural cell differentiation
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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