A mechanistic link may exist between convulsant plant substances typified by picrotoxinin, and ‘neurotrophic’ sesquiterpenes like jiadifenolide. Picrotoxinin elicits convulsion by anion blockade of the Cys-loop family of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels. These same receptors mediate neuronal development and neurite outgrowth prior to synapse formation. Due to its structural homology with picrotoxin and anisatin, it is possible that jiadifenolide enhances NGF-stimulated neurite outgrowth by modulation of the Cys-loop family of receptors.
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