Home » Module 4: Military Pharmacology: It Takes Nerves!

Module 4: Military Pharmacology: It Takes Nerves!

Exposure to nerve gas can lead to a very uncomfortable death. The lethal compound produces numerous actions in the body that result in pain and suffering and death is finally produced by paralysis of the respiratory muscles. How can one compound cause so many effects in the body? In this module, we explore the concept that some drugs and toxins have multiple targets throughout the body. The nervous system is a prime example of a system that has multiple targets for the actions of drugs. The unit focuses on several concepts including, 1) the characteristics of gaseous toxins that allow them to be absorbed into the body, 2) the routes that the toxin takes to be distributed throughout the body, 3) the organization of the nervous system and each of its subdivisions, 4) the role of specific enzymes to produce hydrolysis reactions in the nervous system and 5) how toxins can inhibit chemical reactions like hydrolysis.