Chemical Properties
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- Research -

       Tetrodotoxin is used extensively in the research of sodium (Na) ion channels. Due to the size
and hydrophobic nature of the Na channels, it has not been fully resolved by NMR or X-ray
crystallography. As TTX binds specifically to the Na, it has assisted in providing further information
on the secondary and tertiary structures and nature of these channels.

       For example, Scientists have used TTX to measure the current of the Na channel,
thus gaining an insight to the nature of action potentials (Koester, J.;Kandel, E.R. 1991a).
 TTX physically blocks the Na channels, while Tetraethylammonium is known to block the
 potassium (K) channels. Through separate measurements of current produced by both molecules, the current of the Na and K channels were determined. This experiment
resulted in the finding that the Na and K channels worked oppositely to each other in
an action potential.

       Tetrodotoxin is currently under research for other functions. Its potential use as an anesthetic is
 now being explored. Till date, experiments conducted with TTX as an anesthetic has not been
conclusive. Further tests need to be carried out before TTX can be applied for human use.