The brain is not only a control center of the body but also a part of the way that the body can communicate with external environments. The spatial and temporal events of brain development are well-defined. These processes are sequentially regulated by intrinsic and external factors, such as gene. Disruption of these steps results in malformation and malfunction of the brain. Neurotoxin may affect our developing nervous system as a kind of endogenous and exogenous factor. For classical neurotoxins, such as heavy metals, snake venom, and bacterial toxins, the underlying toxin-mediated physiological pathways are relatively clear, and their antidotes are usually available. However, for atypical neurotoxins, such as air pollutants, food additives, and manufactural compounds, their effects on the nervous system are ordinarily extended and not easy to detect. In addition, the corresponding mechanism is too complex to define. A single and effective antidote against these atypical neurotoxins is uncommon, so prevention is better than cure with this kind of toxin. This chapter starts with the introduction of endogenous and exogenous neurotoxins, how they affect nervous system and their potential antidotes, followed by the impact of atypical neurotoxins in fetal brain development and their possible preventative or therapeutic methods.
Part of the book: Medical Toxicology