Among other functions, acetylcholine is responsible for much of the stimulation of muscles, including the muscles of the gastrointestinal system. It is also found in sensory neurons and in the autonomic nervous system, and has a part in scheduling REM (dream) sleep.
Antimuscarinic drugs block the action of acetylcholine at receptor sites; anticholinesterases and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors prolong the activity of acetylcholine by clocking cholinesterase.
In the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease, there is roughly a 90% decrease in acetylcholine levels.
Acetylcholine was the first neurotransmitter to be discovered. It was first isolated in 1921 by the German-born American pharmacologist Otto Loewi, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1936) for his work.
Related category• BIOCHEMISTRY
Home • About • Copyright © The Worlds of David Darling • Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy • Contact