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Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) is a tumour of neuroendocrine origin often found in association with autoimmune paraneoplastic neurological disorders. We established a SCLC cell line from a woman with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) who developed antibodies to both the P/Q-type voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC) and the muscle acetycholine receptor (AChR). We used a range of techniques to establish which neuronal antigens were expressed in her tumour cell line. The results show that many proteins involved in exocytosis are present in the SCLC cells, and that depolarisation-dependent release of [(3)H]-serotonin is linked to calcium influx through P/Q-type VGCCs. In addition, some of the subunits encoding the AChR and both agrin and ARIA, molecules released from the motor nerve during development, were expressed. These results suggest that many potential antigenic targets are present in SCLC, and indicate a surprising 'motor nerve terminal'-like characteristic of this line.


Journal article


J Neuroimmunol

Publication Date





153 - 162


Autoantibodies, Calcium, Calcium Channels, Calcium Channels, P-Type, Calcium Channels, Q-Type, Calcium-Binding Proteins, Carcinoma, Small Cell, Gene Expression, Humans, Membrane Glycoproteins, Motor Neurons, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Presynaptic Terminals, Receptors, Cholinergic, Serotonin, Synaptotagmins, Tritium, Tumor Cells, Cultured