Week_11_-_How_toxicants_interact_with_th - Week 11 - How...

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Week 11 - How toxicants interact with the nervous system Given the complex nature of the nervous system, it is not surprising that there are a number of mechanisms for causing neurotoxicity, including interference of electrical conduction; effects on synaptic transmission; and physical damage to components of neural cells, typically classified by the area of the cell that is damaged. Within each of these broad categories are a number of cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby neurotoxicants can wreak havoc in the nervous system. Interference with Electrical Conduction The passage of information in the nervous system relies on a fine balance of electrical and chemical signals that pass from one neuron to another. The creation of the electrical signal relies on coordinated opening and closing of ion channels that move the depolarizing signal down the axon, to trigger neurotransmitter release within the synapse. Thus, any toxicants that interfere with the normal function in of ion channels can impede electrical signal conduction and, as a result, prevent normal release of neurotransmitters. A classic example of interference with electrical signal is tetrodotoxin (TTX) , a natural toxin produced in a number of frog and fish species, including puffer fish. TTX blocks sodium channels, which are critical for initiating the generation of the
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This note was uploaded on 02/10/2012 for the course PHY 495 taught by Professor Hess during the Summer '11 term at Alabama.

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Week_11_-_How_toxicants_interact_with_th - Week 11 - How...

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