What Is Neurotoxin And What Are The Symptoms Of Infection?

What Is Neurotoxin And What Are The Symptoms Of Infection?

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1. What Is A Neurotoxin?

What is a neurotoxin? Neurotoxins are highly toxic chemicals that intoxicate and prevent the normal functioning of the central nervous system. In high doses, they can immediately cause seizures in the victim, suffocation or death from cardiac arrest. The nerve agent can be administered as a gas, aerosol or liquid. Furthermore, they can be distributed using bombs, explosives, aerosols and missiles, and even by hand contact.

Neurotoxin & Resslek - RAUP - YouTube

Toxins exist in the form of gases, aerosols or liquids.

Besides, neurotoxins are also a large group of exogenous chemicals that damage the nervous system, thereby having negative effects on the function of the organs. nerve tissue. In particular, in some cases, these toxicants can be used as a classifier for endogenous compounds.
Common examples of neurotoxins include lead, arsenic, aluminum, mercury, ethane, curare (toxin), glutamate, nitric oxide (NO), botulinum toxin, tetanus toxin, chlorotoxin, and tetrodotoxin.

2. Mechanism Of Action Of Neurotoxins In The Human Body

Neurotoxins often originate from marine organisms, such as tetrodotoxin from pufferfish, conotoxin from sea snails, cone snails, and venom Scorpion.

Scorpion Venom: The Newest Treatment for a Deadly Cancer - NFCR

Scorpion venom is a dangerous neurotoxin.

The action of a neurotoxin can be characterized by its ability to inhibit neuronal control of ion concentrations across cell membranes or communication. between neurons across synapses. It is because of these agents that they cause excitotoxicity or nerve cell death, or glial cell damage.
General manifestations of neurotoxin exposure include widespread central nervous system damage such as mental retardation, memory impairment, seizures, and dementia. Additionally, peripheral nervous system damage caused by neurotoxins such as neuropathy or myopathy is common.

Most neurotoxins are nerve agents synthesized by living organisms and other organic substances. Often used for animal self-defense or as poisonous prey to hunt other animals or plants and fungi. The action of these toxins is mainly based on interaction with certain neuronal receptors (for example, nicotine at the level of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors) or antagonists (such as atropine at the acetylcholine receptor level). muscarinic), and thus cause organ function disorders. Another common mechanism of action is opening or blocking ion channels, such as opening calcium channels with alpha-latrotoxin or blocking sodium channels with saxitoxin. For example, halcurin is a polypeptide neurotoxin from the sea anemone Halcurias.

ChE Seminar Series: “Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors in Disease: from  Structure to Therapeutic Strategies” Dr. José Lasalde (UPR-RP, VP Research  and Technology) – UPRM Department of Chemical Engineering

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

In addition, some drugs and alkaloids have adverse effects on neurons and are therefore among the neurotoxins. Besides, although ethanol has neurotoxic effects and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can lead to alcohol poisoning, ethanol is not classified as a poison and is therefore not a neurotoxin.

3. Symptoms Of Nerve Agent Poisoning

Nerve agents block an enzyme that regulates a chemical necessary for vital body functions, such as breathing. When a person is exposed to small amounts of these substances, they begin to have a runny nose, constrict their pupils, feel nauseous, may also experience hallucinations and blurred vision, lose control or experience pain in the chest area. Larger doses of these neurotoxins can cause seizures leading to coma and even death. The victim can suffocate when the nervous and respiratory systems malfunction.

Chemical warfare agents and the effects of nerve agents

Sarin in liquid form can kill a person within 1 to 10 minutes.

Can we easily recognize a nerve agent?
A nerve agent cannot be identified with the naked eye. Because most of them are in the form of colorless clear liquids, they can also be odorless or give off a mild sweet smell depending on the type of poison.

Exposure to a nerve agent
A person can inhale the toxic vapors of one of these poisons, or absorb it through contact with the eyes or skin. These agents can also contaminate any surface, but they can be removed by cleaning the surface.

Is there an antidote to nerve agents?
Treatments for nerve agent damage include the use of antioxidants, antitoxins, and ethanol, which have proven helpful.

In addition, using the muscle relaxants atropine and pralidoxime chloride by injection is also a solution for victims of nerve agent poisoning.  However, these antidotes need to be administered very quickly after the victim has been poisoned, within minutes or hours, depending on the type of nerve agent responsible.