Neurotoxicity Research

, Volume 10, Issue 3–4, pp 263–285

Neurotoxins and neurotoxicity mechanisms. an overview



Neurotoxlns represent unique chemical tools, providing a means to 1) gain insight into cellular mechanisms of apopotosis and necrosis, 2) achieve a morphological template for studies otherwise unattainable, 3) specifically produce a singular phenotype of denervation, and 4) provide the starting point to delve into processes and mechanisms of nerve regeneration and sprouting. There are many other notable uses of neurotoxins in neuroscience research, and ever more being discovered each year. The objective of this review paper is to highlight the broad areas of neuroscience in which neurotoxins and neurotoxicity mechanism come into play. This shifts the focus away from neurotoxins per se, and onto the major problems under study today. Neurotoxins broadly defined are used to explore neurodegenerative disorders, psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders. Neurotoxic mechanisms relating to protein aggregates are indigenous to Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease. NeuroAIDS is a disorder in which microglia and macrophages have enormous import. The gap between the immune system and nervous system has been bridged, as neuroinflammation is now considered to be part of the neurodegenerative process. Related mechanisms now arise in the process of neurogenesis. Accordingly, the entire spectrum of neuroscience is within the purview of neurotoxins and neurotoxicity mechanisms. Highlights on discoveries in the areas noted, and on selective neurotoxins, are included, mainly from the past 2 to 3 years.


Neurodegenerative disorders Psychiatric disorders Substance use disorders NeuroAIDs Protein aggregates Neurotoxins Neuroprotectants Neurogenesis DT-Diaphorase Amphetamines Salsolinol Domoic acid 5,7-Dihydroxytryptamine 3-Nitropropionic acid MPTP 6-Hydroxydopamine Rotenone Paraquat 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programme of Molecular & Clinical Pharmacology, ICBM, Medical FacultyUniversity of ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology, Quillen College of MedicineEast Tennessee State Univ.Johnson CityUSA

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