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Neurotoxicity: The Broad Framework of Electron Transfer, Oxidative Stress and Protection by Antioxidants

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A broad overview of neurotoxins is presented based on electron transfer, reactive oxygen species, and oxidative stress. Although mode of action is complex, these aspects evidently play an important role in many cases. It is relevant that metabolites from toxins generally possess electron transfer functionalities which can participate in redox cycling. Much evidence exists in support of the theoretical framework. Toxic effects at the molecular level include lipid peroxidation, DNA attack, adduction, enzyme inhibition, oxidative attack on the CNS, and cell signaling. The toxins fall into many categories, including drugs, industrial chemicals, abused drugs, reproductive toxins, metal compounds, pesticides, and herbicides. Beneficial effects of antioxidants are documented, which may prove clinically useful. Knowledge of mechanisms operating in CNS insults should prove useful in drug design.
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Keywords: Nerve toxins; antioxidant; electron transfer; lipid peroxidation; oxidative stress; radicals

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Chemistry, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182-1030, USA.

Publication date: 2005-12-01

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