We have studied the relative effectiveness of quinidine and physostigmine in protecting against the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) by sarin, an organophosphate (OP) compound. The protective effects of these compounds were studied in vitro in both synaptosomal and soluble samples obtained from various regions of sarin-administered or control isolated, perfused canine brain. Although AChE activities in the sarin-administered brain were substantially lower than in the control brain, we observed regional differences in the AChE activity in both. The AChE in the control brain and the AChE remaining in sarin-administered brain had different susceptibilities to inhibition from OP compounds in vitro and, therefore, have different properties. Quinidine partially protected AChE from the inhibitory effects of sarin in vitro possibly by altering the sarin binding sites. Addition of sarin to physostigmine-treated control brain samples allowed partial recovery of the AChE activity. The protective effects of quinidine or physostigmine were lost when samples from sarin-administered brain were treated in vitro with these compounds and then again exposed to sarin. Therefore, both quinidine and physostigmine provided partial protection against the inhibitory effects of sarin in vitro if they were added prior to sarin.
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The authors wish to thank Judy Becchetti for preparation of this manuscript, and Carolyn Clark for editorial assistance. This research was supported by DAMDI7-82-C-2136 of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Co~ra-nd. The opinions or assertions are not to be construed as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.