Characteristics of Nervous System, Endocrine and Cardiovascular Toxins

Characteristics of Nervous System, Endocrine and Cardiovascular Toxins



Characteristics of Nervous System, Endocrine and Cardiovascular Toxins

Nervous system, endocrine and cardiovascular tissues are affected by different types of toxins with various characteristics. However, these toxins do have some shared characteristics. In addition, some characteristics of these toxins make them vulnerable to the toxicity of these systems. The nervous agents or toxins affecting the nervous system are characterized by a class of phosphorous organic chemicals, which are capable of disrupting the mechanism through which nerves transmit messages in the body. Endocrine toxins, also known as endocrine disruptors, conversely are chemicals with the capability of mimicking or blocking normal hormone production, which alters how the body functions.

            An example of a neural system toxin is botulinum A, which is a protein and neurotoxin produced by the Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. It affects the neural system by affecting the muscle directly where it blocks the release of neurotransmitter acetylcholine thereby causing paralysis or reducing muscle activity. It is administered through injection. Exotoxin on the other hand is an endocrine toxin similar to botulinum because it is secreted by bacteria. It can cause damage to the host through destroying cells or disrupting cellular metabolism. In addition, they are portentous just like the botulinum toxin. Both of these toxins affect the body through inhibition of target cells, where they destroy normal functioning. However, their effect is different considering they do not affect the same cells. For instance, the botulinum inhibits release of presynaptic acetylcholine from the peripheral cholinergic neurons while the exotoxin inhibits synthesis of protein.

            An example of a cardiovascular toxin is Pertussis, which just like the aforementioned toxins is secreted by a bacterium (Aepfelbacher, Aktories & Just, 2000). Pertussis is produced by the Bortdetella Pertussis and has been associated with whooping cough. In addition, it is protein-based. It is released from B. pertussis in an inactive form that binds to the membrane of the cell receptor where it is taken up as an endosome. It then undergoes retrograde transport to the endoplasmic reticulum and trans-Golgi network. During this process, it is a protomer is activated. When activated, it prevents interaction pf G proteins and their receptors on the cell membrane, which interferes with communication of the intercellular system. This results in abnormal biological signaling where it causes systemic effects such as hypoglycemia (Flora RomanoBaskin & Sekhar, 2004).

            These toxins have several characteristics that make them vulnerable to the toxicity of the systems they affect. To start with, the botulinum toxin, whose main characteristic making it vulnerable is that it specifically acts on cholinergic nerve terminals to cause a sustained blockage of acetylcholine release (IlkhchouiGhaly, Knezevic and Candido, 2013). On the hand, exotoxin acts directly on cells to inhibit their normal functioning. The endocrine system is affected by the exotoxin where it affects cells and glands responsible for production of hormones. Pertussis is vulnerable to toxicity of the cardiovascular system due to its effect on interaction of G proteins and their receptors, where it affects the intercellular system (Aepfelbacher, Aktories & Just, 2000).


Aepfelbacher, M., Aktories, K., & Just, I. (2000). Bacterial protein toxins. Berlin: Springer.

Flora, S.J.S., Romano, J.A., Steven I. & Sekhar, B.K. (2004). Pharmacological Perspectives of Toxic Chemicals and Their Antidotes. New York, N.Y: Springer.

Ilkhchoui, Y., Ghaly, R. F., Knezevic, N. N., & Candido, K. D. (January 01, 2013). Central nervous system toxicity after botulinum neurotoxin injection. Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, 3, 1, 223-5.

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