Nervous System

Neuron Function

Which potentially fatal neurotoxin is found in puffer fish?

The Pacific puffer fish contains tetrodotoxin, or TTX, which is found in the liver, gonads, and blood of certain species of the fish. Tetrodotoxin blocks the voltage-regulated sodium ion channels, eliminating the production of action potentials and preventing nerve cell activity. The Japanese consider the puffer fish, called fugu, a delicacy. Specially licensed chefs prepare fugu by carefully removing the potentially toxic organs. Although a mild tingling and sense of intoxication are considered desirable, improper preparation of the fish results in several deaths per year.


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