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Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2005 Jun;5(3):274-9.

Botulinal neurotoxins: revival of an old killer.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche and Istituto CNR di Neuroscienze, Università di Padova, Viale G. Colombo 3, 35131 Padova, Italy.


Botulinal neurotoxins (BoNTs) produced by anaerobic bacteria of the genus Clostridium are the most toxic proteins known, with mouse LD(50) values in the range of 1-5 ng/kg. They are responsible for the pathophysiology of botulism. BoNTs are metalloproteinases that enter peripheral cholinergic nerve terminals, where they cleave one or two of the three core proteins of the neuroexocytosis apparatus and elicit persistent but reversible inhibition of neurotransmitter release. Their specificity of action has made them useful therapeutic agents for many human syndromes caused by hyperactivity of cholinergic nerve terminals. Their range of clinical applications is continuously growing, and BoNT/A is being used extensively as a pharmaco-cosmetic.

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