Stimulation of spontaneous transmitter release at the frog neuromuscular junction by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate occurs in the absence of extracellular Ca2+ and is enhanced by depolarization

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The effect of the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) on the release of transmitter at the frog neuromuscular junction has been investigated electrophysiologically. TPA (100 nmol/l) caused a gradual rise in miniature end-plate potential (MEPP) frequency. After 20-30 min MEPP frequency had risen by approximately 40%. This action of the drug was not inhibited by bathing preparations in either Ca2+-free medium (0 Ca2+-1 mmol/l EGTA) or high Mg2+ medium, or by pretreatment with verapamil (5 mumol/l). The inactive TPA analogue 4-alpha-TPA had no effect on release rate. There was no indication of any positive correlation between resting MEPP frequency and the size of the subsequent response to TPA treatment. Any synergism between [Ca2+]i and TPA treatment is therefore likely to occur at a site other than that which determines spontaneous release rate. The stimulatory effect of TPA was enhanced 2-fold by carrying out the experiments in a partially depolarising saline (10 mmol/l K+). When TPA was applied to preparations bathed in Ca2+-free depolarising saline, the response to the drug was still significantly greater than that in non-depolarised preparations. It is concluded that responsiveness to TPA is enhanced by depolarisation, but that little, if any, of this enhancement can be attributed to the consequent influx of Ca2+.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-44
Number of pages6
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1988


  • Animals, Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate, Neurotransmitter Agents, Verapamil, Neuromuscular Junction, Calcium, Motor Endplate, Neuromuscular Depolarizing Agents, Rana temporaria