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Whole body exposure of rats to sulfur mustard vapor

TitleWhole body exposure of rats to sulfur mustard vapor
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsDachir S., Rabinovitz I., Yaacov G., Gutman H., Cohen L., Horwitz V., Cohen M., Kadar T.
JournalDrug Chem Toxicol
Date PublishedMay
ISBN Number0148-0545 (Linking)
Accession Number29171299
Keywordseyes, INHALATION, RATS, SKIN, Sulfur Mustard, VAPOR, Whole body exposure

Sulfur mustard (SM) is an incapacitating chemical warfare agent used in numerous conflicts around the world and it is still a major threat for both, army troops and civilians. To evaluate its multiple targets effects in experimental setup, a model of whole body exposure (WBE) to SM vapor was established in rats and its simultaneous effects on lungs and eyes as well as on general wellbeing were examined. Rats were exposed to SM vapor. Evaluation (up to 10 weeks post-exposure) included body weight, general observation, blood counts and histological analysis. Results showed that following a latency-period of several hours, rats typical symptoms developed over a period of more than one week. The initial symptoms, characterized by swollen and erythematic nose, deteriorated into extensive rhinorrhea, eye closure, excessive lacrimation as well as rhonchi, wheezing and breathing difficulties. Alopecia and behavioral abnormality were also recorded. A weight loss of up to 40% was measured within one week with spontaneous recovery to baseline level within three weeks after exposure. Blood counts revealed leukopenia during the first three days post-exposure. Histological evaluation revealed a long lasting damage to the trachea, lungs and eyes. Thus, WBE to SM, was found to closely mimic the deleterious effects of SM on the sensitive tissues previously described in human victims during WWI and the Iran-Iraq war. The use of this animal model will enable comprehensive characterization of changes in biological processes that may lead to the development of therapeutic measures to ameliorate SM induced multi-system injuries.

Short TitleWhole body exposure of rats to sulfur mustard vapor

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