Neuropoisons pp 169-186 | Cite as

Mechanism of Action of Tetrodotoxin (TTX) and Saxitoxin (STX)

  • Wolf-Dietrich Dettbarn


Marine toxins such as TTX and STX have aroused the interest of physiologists, biochemists, pharmacologists, and biological warfare people, as well as writers of spy and mystery stories. In the hands of the neuroscientist they have been turned into helpful instruments vital for the study of nerve function and excitable membranes. In this chapter on modes of action, I shall limit myself to the studies of TTX and STX on nerve and muscle. On these tissues they have been studied extensively and in some depth. Neither the historical development nor chemistry of these compounds will be discussed, because there are a number of excellent papers available covering the subject (Kao, 1966). Before discussing the mode of action of TTX and STX, one must say something about the nature of the nerve impulse.


Potassium Current Sodium Current Nerve Impulse Cationic Form Giant Axon 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf-Dietrich Dettbarn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA

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