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3-Nitropropionic Acid - Exogenous Animal Neurotoxin And Possible Human Striatal Toxin

A.C. Ludolph, F. He, P.S. Spencer, J. Hammerstad, M. Sabri

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ABSTRACT:3-Nitropropionic acid (3-NPA) — a suicide inhibitor of succinate dehydrogenase — is a widely distributed plant and fungal neurotoxin known to induce damage to basal ganglia, hippocampus, spinal tracts and peripheral nerves in animals. Recent reports from Northern China indicate that 3-NPA is also likely to be responsible for the development of putaminal necrosis with delayed dystonia in children after ingestion of mildewed sugar cane. This article discusses the role of 3-NPA in the causation of the disease in China, its neurotoxic effects in animals and the potential role for this compound as a probe of selective neuronal vulnerability.