Coxsackie A viruses can infect denervated but not innervated mature skeletal muscles. The role of synaptic transmission in preventing susceptibility to Coxsackievirus infection was studied by surgically denervating leg muscles of mice or injecting the muscles with botulinum toxin to block quantal release of acetylcholine. Control muscles were injected with heat-inactivated toxin. Subsequent injection of Coxsackie A2 virus resulted in extensive virus replication and tissue destruction in the denervated and botulinum toxin-treated muscles, while the control muscles showed only minimal changes. This suggests that the susceptibility of skeletal muscle to Coxsackievirus infection is regulated by synoptic transmission.