Beauty shots can be fatal: scientists found Botox penetrating the brain
Botox, which is used for so-called beauty or youth shots, can be extremely dangerous because it can enter the brain, disrupting communication between neurons. As a result, such poisoning can lead to paralysis.
This is stated in a study published in The EMBO Journal. Australian scientists, who authored the study, learned how the toxic substance enters the brain.
Botox injections are one of the most common cosmetic procedures in the world, and millions of women and men take them every day.
Botox, known as botulinum toxin type A, is actually one of the most toxic compounds known to scientists. People who get Botox injected are saved only by the fact that cosmetologists use a very small dose, which usually does not harm the body. However, there are cases when such injections do not lead to quite the results that clients expect.
According to Cosmos magazine, scientists have managed to uncover a specific molecular mechanism that allows Botox to enter the brain's neurons and cause paralysis.
Researchers have learned that entry into the brain occurs through the capture of a receptor complex.
University of Queensland neuroscientist Professor Frederick Meunier says the study found that a receptor called Synaptotagmin 1 binds to two other previously known clostridial neurotoxin receptors. Together, they form a tiny complex that is placed on the plasma membrane of neurons.
It is this complex that captures the toxin, gaining access to synaptic vesicles that store neurotransmitters critical for communication between neurons.
"Botox interrupts communication between nerves and muscle cells, causing paralysis," scientists told the study.
At the same time, as a result of the study, scientists were able to find out that for Botox toxin to penetrate the neuron, it is necessary to have a triple combination of receptors, otherwise it is not able to penetrate.
The study was not meant to discredit beauty shots, as it is known that the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, which produces neurotoxin, can enter the body with food. It can be inhaled through soil or water particles. The bacterium can also enter the body through an open wound.
The toxin ingestion results in a disease known as botulism, which, even with antitoxins, kills about 7 percent of infected people.
Scientists hope that the study's findings will allow for more effective treatment of the disease.
"Now we know how this complex allows the toxin to enter, we can block the interaction between any two of the three receptors to stop deadly toxins from entering neurons," Professor Meunier explained.
In addition to beauty injections, in which Botox stops certain muscles from working, relaxing them and preventing wrinkles from forming on the skin, this toxin is also used to treat a range of clinical conditions, such as muscle paralysis.
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