One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bitter compound used to stimulate the respiratory and nervous system, especially in treating barbiturate poisoning.
This toxin is obtained from the seeds of the shrub Anamirta cocculus (family Menispermaceae)
- ‘When the synapses of these inhibitory neurons are blocked by drugs (such as of picrotoxin or penicillin), the excitatory network can sustain a chain reaction leading to an epileptiform discharge.’
- ‘The cellular mechanisms underlying picrotoxin-induced convulsive activity were studied by using mouse spinal neurons growing in tissue culture.’
- ‘The only synaptic feedback to the pyloric pacemaker group through the EP to PD inhibitory synapse was removed by applying 10-5 M picrotoxin in the bath.’
- ‘Picrotoxin eliminates frequency selectivity of an auditory interneuron in a bushcricket.’
Mid 19th century: from Greek pikros ‘bitter’ + toxin.
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