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A mono-quaternary alkaloid that acts as a competitive antagonist for acetylcholine


Tubocurarine is a toxic alkaloid. It is the main toxin of tube curare that can be extracted in certain toxic plant species. It is a muscle relaxant and is used as an adjunct in anesthesia to relax skeletal muscles during surgery or mechanical ventilation.

Tubacurarine can be obtained from the bark of the climbing vine plant species, Chondrodendron tomentosusm. It is the main toxin in tube curare that is used in making poisonous arrows for hunting purposes. Tubocurarine is demonstrated to be effective by administering parenterally. Its site of action is at the neuromuscular junction1 of voluntary muscles.2 It prevents the skeletal muscles, including the diaphragm, from moving. Since it limits the movement of the diaphragm and restricts respiration it can be lethal when administered at large doses.

Abbreviation / Acronym: DTC

Also called:

  • d-tubocurarine
  • 6,6'-dimethoxy-2,2,2',2'-tetramethyltubocuraran-2,2'-diium-7',12'-diol

See also:

1 Bernard C (1856). "Analyse physiologie des propriétés des actions de curare et de la nicotine sure systèmes musculaire et nerveux au moyen du curare". Compt. Rend. 43: 305–319.
2 Bechter AM (1977). "The civilizing of curare: a history of its development and introduction into anesthesiology". Anesth Analg 56 (2): 305–319. doi:10.1213/00000539-197703000-00032. PMID 322548.