Oxidants and antioxidants in sulfur mustard-induced injury

Jeffrey D. Laskin, Adrienne T. Black, Yi Hua Jan, Patrick J. Sinko, Ned D. Heindel, Vasanthi Sunil, Diane E. Heck, Debra L. Laskin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

97 Scopus citations


Sulfur mustard (SM) is a chemical weapon that targets the skin, eyes, and lung. It was first employed during World War I and it remains a significant military and civilian threat. As a bifunctional alkylating agent, SM reacts with a variety of macromolecules in target tissues including nucleic acids, proteins and lipids, as well as small molecular weight metabolites such as glutathione. By alkylating subcellular components, SM disrupts metabolism, a process that can lead to oxidative stress. Evidence for oxidative stress in tissues exposed to SM or its analogs include increased formation of reactive oxygen species, the presence of lipid peroxidation products and oxidized proteins, and increases in antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione-S-transferase. Inhibition of antioxidant enzymes including thioredoxin reductase by SM can also disrupt cellular redox homeostasis. Consistent with these findings, SM-induced toxicity has been shown to be reduced by antioxidants in both in vitro and in vivo models. These data indicate that drugs that target oxidative stress pathways may represent important candidates for reducing SM-induced tissue injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOxidative/Nitrosative Stress and Disease
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781573317849
StatePublished - Aug 2010

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


  • dermatotoxicity
  • nitric oxide
  • oxidative stress
  • reactive oxygen species
  • vesicants


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