toxin tox·in (tŏk'sĭn)
A poisonous substance, especially a protein, that is produced by living cells or organisms and is capable of causing disease when introduced into the body tissues but is often also capable of inducing neutralizing antibodies or antitoxins.
|toxin (tŏk'sĭn) Pronunciation Key
A poisonous substance, especially one produced by a living organism. Toxins can be products or byproducts of ordinary metabolism, such as lactic acid, and they must be broken down or excreted before building up to dangerous levels. Toxins can facilitate survival, as with snake venom that kills or immobilizes prey, or cyanide produced by some plants as a defense against being eaten. Bacterial toxins can sometimes be neutralized with antitoxins. Compare antitoxin.