Botulinum toxin

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Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and is extremely neurotoxic.[1][2] When introduced intravenously in monkeys, type A of the toxin exhibits an LD50 of 40-56 ng, type C1 around 32 ng, type D 3200 ng, and type E 88 ng, rendering the above types some of the most powerful neurotoxins known.[3] Popularly known by one of its trade names, Botox or Dysport, it is used for various cosmetic and medical procedures.

Contents

History

Justinus Kerner described botulinum toxin as a "sausage poison" and "fatty poison",[4] as the bacterium that produces the toxin often caused poisoning by growing in improperly handled or prepared meat products. It was Kerner, a physician, who first conceived a possible therapeutic use of botulinum toxin and coined the name botulism (from Latin botulus meaning "sausage"). In 1897, Emile van Ermengem identified the bacterium Clostridium botulinum to be the producer of botulinum toxin.[5] In 1928, P. Tessmer Snipe and Hermann Sommer for the first time purified the toxin.[6] In 1949, Burgen's group discovered that botulinum toxin blocks neuromuscular transmission.

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