Drugs And Toxins Thats Affect Neural Pathways

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As the title indicates, this post is directed towards the subject of Drugs and Toxins that affect the nervous system. I'll be writing a report on this and it is up to me to pick a specific drug or toxin to write about. I was just wondering what you all have to say about the subject. Maybe there are some interesting drugs and toxins that you know about. If so go ahead and share what you know, this is just for fun. Post pictures of the physical effects if you want.
 

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  • #2
chemisttree
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I'd look at prions as an interesting class of toxins. Especially http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1001257" [Broken]

100 percent lethal in mice.
 
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Nice, im gonna look it up
 
  • #4
I'm a big fan of Batrachotoxins, Saxitoxin, and Tetrodotoxin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batrachotoxin

I find the former most fascinating because by all accounts it arises as a result of the diet, and not the usual modified salivary/sebaceous glands. Take the frog out of the jungle, and you take the BTX out of the frog.

edit: for another direction:

Staphylococcal Enterotoxin (B)
and...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulinum_toxin ... the nastiest toxin I can think of that you routinely encounter, and now it's making people "pretty".
 
  • #5
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A whole host of drugs. Look up NMDA ant/agonists, MAOIs, and SSRIs.

You can also research pretty much every single illicit street drug out there from marijuana and cocaine to ecstasy and crystal meth. They all target the CNS.

I realize this post is late, but maybe you are still doing your research project.
 
  • #6
A whole host of drugs. Look up NMDA ant/agonists, MAOIs, and SSRIs.

You can also research pretty much every single illicit street drug out there from marijuana and cocaine to ecstasy and crystal meth. They all target the CNS.

I realize this post is late, but maybe you are still doing your research project.
They're drugs, but not toxins...
 
  • #7
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They're drugs, but not toxins...
Right, and isn't that what the OP is asking for in the title?
 
  • #8
Right, and isn't that what the OP is asking for in the title?
Yeah, both, I was just making sure that you weren't classifying all pharmaceuticals as 'toxins'... nothing personal, but it does happen.
 
  • #9
Simfish
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They're drugs, but not toxins...
Many of them have toxic effects though (and these pathways are remarkably similar to other neurotoxic pathways).

E.g. methamphetamine and amphetamine are neurotoxic because they redistribute dopamine in a way that makes the dopamine in a position where it can damage neuron terminals when it auto-oxidizes.

Interestingly enough, cocaine and methylphenidate aren't neurotoxic in the same way (cocaine has neurotoxic mechanisms, but it also happens to upregulate an antioxidant that prevents much of this neurotoxicity from acting). Neurons do get downregulated, but downregulation doesn't imply toxicity.
 
  • #10
Many of them have toxic effects though (and these pathways are remarkably similar to other neurotoxic pathways).

E.g. methamphetamine and amphetamine are neurotoxic because they redistribute dopamine in a way that makes the dopamine in a position where it can damage neuron terminals when it auto-oxidizes.

Interestingly enough, cocaine and methylphenidate aren't neurotoxic in the same way (cocaine has neurotoxic mechanisms, but it also happens to upregulate an antioxidant that prevents much of this neurotoxicity from acting). Neurons do get downregulated, but downregulation doesn't imply toxicity.
Many potentially lethal or addictive substances aren't directly neurotoxic, but then, the catastrophic release of dopamine can be. As for moving into position, I'm not sure what you mean unless you're referring to an increased concentration of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft?

Anyway, a drug has adverse effects, and a medical use... a toxin is strictly a metabolic byproduct that is damaging, compared with a poison which is toxic out of the gate. Compare SEB (staphylococcal enterotoxin) which is a metabolic product of some strains of Staph, with something frankly anti/pro-cholinergic like an organophosphate on one hand, and spider venom on the other.

Generally the toxic effects of medications are just that; toxins as a byproduct of metabolism, which is in large part why there is a therapeutic "window".
 

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