Elucidating the mechanism of cellular uptake and removal of protein

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Due to the critical importance of finding neurotoxins in common environments, specific protocols have been developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for testing and determining neurotoxic effects of compounds (USEPA 1998).Additionally, in vitro systems have increased in use as they provide significant improvements over the more common in vivo systems of the past.As a result, the nervous system has a number of mechanisms designed to protect it from internal and external assaults, including the blood brain barrier.

Blood can carry a number of ingested toxins, however, which would induce significant neuron death if they reach nervous tissue.Support has been shown for a number of treatments aimed at attenuating neurotoxin-mediated injury, such as antioxidant Exposure to neurotoxins in society is not new, as civilizations have been exposed to neurologically destructive compounds for thousands of years.One notable example is the possible significant lead exposure during the Roman Empire resulting from the development of extensive plumbing networks and the habit of boiling vinegared wine in lead pans to sweeten it, the process generating lead acetate, known as "sugar of lead".As such, neurotoxins provide an effective means by which certain elements of the nervous system may be accurately and efficiently targeted.An early example of neurotoxin based targeting used radiolabeled tetrodotoxin to assay sodium channels and obtain precise measurements about their concentration along nerve membranes.

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