New search
download case
  • Overview
  • Teaching Notes
  • Answer Key
  • Comments/Replies

Unlucky Chucky and Toxins of the Neuromuscular Junction



Co Authors:

Andrew M. Petzold
Center for Learning Innovation
University of Minnesota Rochester
petzo002@umn.edu

Jennifer Wollschlager
Center for Learning Innovation
University of Minnesota Rochester
jwollsch@umn.edu

Robert L. Dunbar
Center for Learning Innovation
University of Minnesota Rochester
dunb0011@r.umn.edu

Abstract:

Signaling at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) is a complex process that is required for many actions that sustain life within humans. Toxins that act upon the NMJ, both natural and synthetic, act in a variety of ways to inhibit this function. This case study examines how a variety of toxins can act to disrupt the normal mechanism of function of the NMJ  by placing a protagonist (“Unlucky Chucky”) at an eco-spa in Colombia with his good friend Melody. Unfortunately, during their time at the eco-spa, things don’t always turn out well for Chucky. A variety of neuromuscular toxins are discussed including curare (d-tubocurarine), Botox (botulinum toxin A), physostigmine and sarin gas (GB). This case was designed to be used in a variety of classrooms ranging from an undergraduate introduction to biology course in a module focused on neuromuscular functioning, to an introduction to physiology course as an introduction to the NMJ; it could also potentially be used in a nursing course that is examining NMJ physiology.

Objectives:
  • Understand the structure and function of the neuromuscular junction.
  • Understand the mechanisms by which curare, botulinum toxin, and nerve agents work to affect the physiology of the NMJ.
  • Apply principles learned from this case to other ions and drugs that might operate at the NMJ.
Keywords: neuromuscular junction; NMJ; toxin; antagonist; acetylcholine; curare; botulinum toxin; sarin
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Physiology  
Date Posted: 7/5/2016
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Teaching Notes


Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

  Download Teaching Notes

Answer Key


Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering here.


  Get Answer Key



Name:
Email:
Department:
Institution:
City State:
Comments:
security code
Enter Security Code: