Chemical toxins that cause seizures

Neurotoxicology. 2012 Dec;33(6):1473-1475. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


Seizurogenic chemicals include a variety of toxic agents, including chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and natural toxins. Chemical weapons such as sarin and VX, and pesticides such as parathion and carbaryl cause hyperstimulation of cholinergic receptors and an increase in excitatory neurotransmission. Glutamatergic hyperstimulation can occur after exposure to excitatory amino acid toxins such as the marine toxin domoic acid. Other pesticides such as lindane and strychnine do not affect excitatory neurotransmission directly, but rather, they block the inhibitory regulation of neurotransmission by antagonism of inhibitory GABA and glycine synapses. In this paper, chemicals that cause seizures by a variety of molecular mechanisms and pathways are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / toxicity
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / toxicity
  • Cyanides / toxicity
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / metabolism
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / chemically induced*
  • Seizures / metabolism
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Cyanides
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Ion Channels
  • Pesticides