Uptake of botulinum neurotoxin in the intestine

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2013:364:45-59. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-33570-9_3.


Foodborne and intestinal botulism are the most common forms of human botulism; both result from the absorption of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) from the digestive tract into the circulation. BoNT is a large protein toxin (approximately 150 kDa), but it is able to pass through the epithelial barrier in the digestive tract. Recent cellular and molecular biology studies have begun to unravel the mechanisms by which this large protein toxin crosses the intestinal epithelial barrier. This review provides an overview of current knowledge relating to the absorption of botulinum toxins (BoNT and BoNT complex) from the gastrointestinal tract, with particular emphasis on the interaction of these toxins with the intestinal epithelial barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Botulinum Toxins / metabolism*
  • Botulinum Toxins / toxicity
  • Botulism / microbiology
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Clostridium botulinum / metabolism
  • Clostridium botulinum / pathogenicity
  • Hemagglutinins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Neurotoxins / metabolism*
  • Neurotoxins / toxicity
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteolysis
  • Transcytosis


  • Cadherins
  • Hemagglutinins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Neurotoxins
  • Botulinum Toxins