Several factors which influence the rate of inactivation of muscle postjunctional membrane (PJM) receptors during the sustained application of carbamylcholine (CARB) have been studied by two methods. The rate of inactivation was increased by elevating the tonicity of the bathing medium, by increasing the CARB concentration, by raising the calcium ion concentration, and by substituting SO4= for Cl- ions in the extracellular fluid. The relative effectiveness of calcium and other divalent cations in receptor inactivation was compared. In the absence of calcium, other divalent cations such as magnesium, strontium, or manganese were not efficient substitutes for calcium. In the presence of calcium, the addition of strontium or manganese ions accelerated the rate of receptor inactivation, but the addition of magnesium (up to 12 mM) inhibited this process. The inactivation of the membrane receptors in denervated muscle fibers was found to be similar to that in innervated muscle fibers. Various factors in PJM receptor inactivation are discussed. It is suggested that PJM receptor inactivation is influenced by the binding of calcium ions to sites on the internal surface of the PJM.

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