What is botulinum toxin?

Updated: Mar 11, 2019
  • Author: Heather Rachel Davids, MD; Chief Editor: Elizabeth A Moberg-Wolff, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Botulinum toxin is produced by the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium botulinum, a rod-shaped, gram-positive organism found in soil and water. Botulinum toxin type A (abbreviated BoNT-A or BTX-A) belongs to a family of neurotoxins (designated as types A, B, C1, C2, D, E, F, and G) with similar properties. BoNT-A causes degrees of flaccid (rather than rigid or tetanic) paralysis by blocking acetylcholine, required for muscle contraction, from release at the nerve terminal. [1, 2, 3] Therapeutic benefit may be derived by exploiting the pharmacologic properties of carefully administered regional application of this purified neurotoxin.


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