1. Studies of the synthesis and release of radioactive acetylcholine in rat brain-cortex slices incubated in Locke–bicarbonate–[U-14C]glucose media, containing paraoxon as cholinesterase inhibitor, revealed the following phenomena: (a) dependence of K+-or protoveratrine-stimulated acetylcholine synthesis and release on the presence of Na+ and Ca2+ in the incubation medium, (b) enhanced release of radioactive acetylcholine by substances that promote depolarization at the nerve cell membrane (e.g. high K+, ouabain, protoveratrine, sodium l-glutamate, high concentration of acetylcholine), (c) failure of acetylcholine synthesis to keep pace with acetylcholine release under certain conditions (e.g. the presence of ouabain or lack of Na+). 2. Stimulation by K+ of radioactive acetylcholine synthesis was directly proportional to the external concentration of Na+, but some synthesis and release of radioactive acetylcholine occurred in the absence of Na+ as well as in the absence of Ca2+. 3. The Na+ dependence of K+-stimulated acetylcholine synthesis was partly due to suppression of choline transport, as addition of small concentrations of choline partly neutralized the effect of Na+ lack, and partly due to the suppression of the activity of the Na+ pump. 4. Protoveratrine caused a greatly increased release of radioactive acetylcholine without stimulating total radioactive acetylcholine synthesis. Protoveratrine was ineffective in the absence of Ca2+ from the incubation medium. It completely blocked K+ stimulation of acetylcholine synthesis and release. 5. Tetrodotoxin abolished the effects of protoveratrine on acetylcholine release. It had blocking effects (partial or complete) on the action of high K+, sodium l-glutamate and lack of Ca2+ on acetylcholine synthesis and release. 6. Unlabelled exogenous acetylcholine did not diminish the content of labelled tissue acetylcholine, derived from labelled glucose, suggesting that no exchange with vesicular acetylcholine took place. In the presence of 4mm-KCl it caused some increase in the release of labelled acetylcholine. 7. The barbiturates (Amytal, pentothal), whilst having no significant effects on labelled acetylcholine synthesis in unstimulated brain except at high concentration (1mm), diminished or abolished (at 0.25 or 0.5mm) the enhanced release of acetylcholine, due to high K+ or lack of Ca2+. The fall in tissue content of acetylcholine, due to lack of Ca2+, was diminished or abolished by pentothal (0.25 or 0.5mm) or Amytal (0.25mm).

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