Selective Complexing of Acetylcholinesterase in Brain by Intravenously Administered Monoclonal Antibody

Stephen Brimijoin, Michael Balm, Pamela Hammond, Vanda A. Lennon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Abstract: Rats injected intravenously with monoclonal antibodies reactive with brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) developed a prolonged depression of plasma AChE without changes in butyrylcholinesterase, lactic acid dehydrogenase, or hematocrit. One antibody, ZR1, accumulated in the brain and spinal cord. Within 3 days of injection, ZR1 bound to most of the AChE in cerebral cortex and certain other regions of the CNS. Examination of the molecular forms of cortical AChE showed that antibody binding in vivo was selective for 10S AChE, whereas 4S AChE remained free. In vitro, however, ZRI bound equally to solubilized 4S and 10S forms. These data provide direct evidence for the compartmentalization of different AChE forms in the CNS, 10S being mainly extracellular and 4S apparently intracellular. Development of a striking and persistent bilateral ptosis within hours of injection suggests that AChE in the autonomic nervous system is also accessible to antibodies and, furthermore, is the site of an immunopathological lesion. This novel model of cholinergic autoimmunity may have relevance for human neurological disorders of unknown etiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-241
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Autoimmune neurological disease
  • Blood
  • Brain‐Molecular forms
  • Dysautonomia
  • brain barrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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