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Trends Neurosci. 1993 Apr;16(4):153-60.

Interactions of polyamines with neuronal ion channels.

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  • 1Dept of Physiology, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK.


Polyamines, a group of aliphatic amines, exert selective and complex actions on a variety of ion channels. Polyamines are found endogenously, as normal metabolic intermediates, and also in the venoms of several invertebrates, where they act as potent neurotoxins. In addition, evidence suggests that polyamines may mediate or potentiate excitotoxic mechanisms responsible for neuronal damage during ischaemia. Now that the structures and functions of various polyamines are beginning to be deduced, and synthetic analogues become available, these compounds are of importance, not only as pharmacological tools to study specific receptor/ion channel complexes, but also as templates on which to base drugs designed for neuroprotective effects in a number of neurodegenerative disorders.

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