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Therapeutic and Cosmetic uses of Botulinum Toxin

Author(s): Vinay Kant | Rita Koshal | Pawan Kumar Verma | Nrip Kishore Pankaj

Journal: Vet Scan
ISSN 0973-6980

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Botulinum toxin | Clostridium botulinum

From times unknown man has greatly been benefited from uncovering and utilizing the chemicals from the natural world. Living organisms, such as plants, animals, microorganisms, offer a huge source of pharmaceutically useful medicine and toxins. Depending upon their source, the toxins are categorized as phytotoxins, mycotoxins and, zootoxins including venoms and bacterial toxins. Botulinum toxin is neurotoxic protein produced by the gram-positive, rod shaped, spore forming, strictly anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum. These bacteria are widely distributed in soil and water (Dowell, 1984). Botulinum toxin is one of the most acutely toxic naturally occurring substances in the world with a lethal dose of about 200-300 pg/kg (100g could kill every human on earth. Botulinum toxin is odorless and tasteless, and shares many properties with the other bacterial toxins such as tetanospasmin and diphtheria toxin (Davis, 1993). Thousands of people in the world each year continue to be poisoned with botulinum toxin food-borne, infantile, or wound botulism but the neurotoxin is now sufficiently understood to allow it to be used as medicinal agent to paralyze specific muscles, giving temporary symptomatic relief from variety of neurologic disorders and for certain cosmetic purposes in minute doses. (Davis, 1993). The clostridia produce more protein toxins than any other bacterial genus and are a rich reservoir of toxins for research and medicinal uses. Research is underway to use these clostridial exotoxins or their toxin domains for drug delivery, prevention of food poisoning, and the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The remarkable success of botulinum toxin as a therapeutic agent has created a new field of investigation in microbiology.
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