Acetylcholinesterase in the development of chick dorsal root ganglia

S. Biagioni, T. Odorisio, G. Poiana, G. Scarsella, G. Augusti-Tocco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Acetylcholinesterase is expressed in chick dorsal root ganglia neurons very early in development. Since the physiological role of the enzyme in these cells is still obscure, it appeared of interest to investigate its modifications in the course of development. The specific activity of acetylcholinesterase in chick dorsal root ganglia increases, during in ovo development, from day E5 to day E13; after day E13 there is a decrease. Conversely, when acetylcholinesterase activity was expressed on a per ganglion basis, a continuous increase in the level of the enzyme until day E20 was observed. Acetylcholinesterase is a polymorphic enzyme and its molecular forms have different cellular localizations. Two globular forms, a tetramer (G4) and a dimer (G2), are present in the ganglia, as in chick brain. G4 is the major form at day E5, where it represents about 85% of the activity. This form shows a progressive decrease since day E8, and at day E20 exhibits activity levels similar to those of G2. It is known that acetylcholinesterase-producing cells are also able to release the enzyme in the extracellular space. We determined the release of acetylcholinesterase by cultured dorsal root ganglia neurons at various developmental stages: acetylcholinesterase release is significantly increased at day E20, as compared to younger stages, and 90% of the enzyme released is G4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Development
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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