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A curare toxic alkaloid and a potent nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonist at the neuromuscular junction


Toxiferine is a curare toxin. It is a bisindole alkaloid and is available naturally. It can be extracted from toxic plant species, particularly Strychnos toxifera . The species Strychnos toxifera is a principal plant source of curare for making arrow poisons. It belongs to the genus Strychnos that is a genus of flowering plants belonging to family Loganiaceae and is known for containing poisonous indole alkaliods in roots, stems, and leaves of the plant. The physiological action of toxiferine is to act as a potent competitive nicotinic antagonist at the neuromuscular junction. It inhibits the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, consequently, relaxes or paralyses the skeletal muscle. It takes approximately two hours to recover after a moderate dose of toxiferine and eight hours of total paralysis with a twenty-fold paralytic dose.1

Its formula is C40 H46 N4 O2

Also called:

  • C-toxiferine I

See also:

Mentioned in:

1 The Alkaloids: v. 1 : A Review of Chemical Literature (Specialist Periodical Reports). Cambridge, Eng: Royal Society of Chemistry. 1971.