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Table of Contents
Vol. 6, No. 6, 1999
Issue release date: November–December 1999
Section title: Review
J Biomed Sci 1999;6:368–375
(DOI:10.1159/000025412)

Looking Back on the Discovery of α-Bungarotoxin

Chang C.C.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Review

Published online: 10/22/1999
Issue release date: November–December 1999

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 1021-7770 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0127 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/JBS

Abstract

This review is a personal narration by a retiring pharmacologist from Taiwan who looks back at his discovery of α-bungarotoxin from the historical perspective of Taiwan during the last 50 years, with accounts of his experiences and his efforts to overcome hardship. How the α-toxin was isolated and characterized as an irreversible specific nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor antagonist, and how it subsequently became a useful experimental probe are presented here. The dilemma of differentiating the actions of tubocurarine and α-bungarotoxin is analyzed. The author also outlines findings based on work done in his laboratory using α-bungarotoxin as a tool on particular aspects of synaptic transmission. These include presynaptic receptor for positive feedback of transmitter release, explosive release of ACh, up- and downregulation of ACh receptors after chronic drug treatment, autodesensitization of junctional ACh receptors, differences in action between natural transmitter and exogenous agonists and that between junctional and extrajunctional ACh receptors. Some experimental pitfalls, in which biomedical scientists are frequently trapped, are raised. Finally, some anecdotes are appended from which the reader may further understand scientific life in the 20th century, including its joys and regrets.


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Review

Published online: 10/22/1999
Issue release date: November–December 1999

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 1021-7770 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0127 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/JBS


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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