Chemical and Molecular Basis of Nerve Activity by David Nachmansohn

By David Nachmansohn

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Moreover, in addition to many other criteria to be discussed later, the enzyme must be present in significant concentrations adequate to account for the removal of the amounts of active ester released during activity and in a period of time compatible with the time relationships of the function proposed for the ester. The presence and the concentration of the enzyme were studied by the writer in extensive investigations during the years 1936 to 1939 with the able technical help of Mile. Annette Marnay, at that time a student in chemistry (Marnay and Nachmansohn, 1937a-c, 1938; Nachmansohn OCCURRENCE IN CONDUCTING TISSUES AND CONCENTRATION 27 1937a, b, 1938b-f, 1939b).

At the region where cell bodies and synaptic junctions are located, the concentrations are several times as high as in the corresponding fibers. Usually the concentration increases three to five times, sometimes even more. So, for instance, the Q c h E in preganglionic fibers of the sympathetic cervical ganglion is about 50-70, whereas it is 500-600 in the ganglion itself. In the abdominal chain of lobster, the values are 80-140, but they rise to 180-300 at the regions containing cell bodies. Myelinated nerve fibers in general have lower concentrations than A 28 III.

The ratio between specific enzyme and other esterases is, however, not easy to evaluate quantitatively; in many tissues almost all the esterase is of the specific type, in some others there is definitely some other type of esterase present; usually the percentage is small but may vary somewhat from one type of tissue to the other. But even if half the enzyme, as may be true in some cases, is a different esterase, not specified as yet, the picture as a whole would be little affected by the corrections to be made, namely that the specific enzyme is not only present in all types of conducting tissue, but that it exists there in high concentrations.

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