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Title: A critical role of acute bronchoconstriction in the mortality associated with high-dose sarin inhalation: Effects of epinephrine and oxygen therapies

Sarin is an organophosphate nerve agent that is among the most lethal chemical toxins known to mankind. Because of its vaporization properties and ease and low cost of production, sarin is the nerve agent with a strong potential for use by terrorists and rouge nations. The primary route of sarin exposure is through inhalation and, depending on the dose, sarin leads to acute respiratory failure and death. The mechanism(s) of sarin-induced respiratory failure is poorly understood. Sarin irreversibly inhibits acetylcholine esterase, leading to excessive synaptic levels of acetylcholine and, we have previously shown that sarin causes marked ventilatory changes including weakened response to hypoxia. We now show that LD{sub 50} sarin inhalation causes severe bronchoconstriction in rats, leading to airway resistance, increased hypoxia-induced factor-1α, and severe lung epithelium injury. Transferring animals into 60% oxygen chambers after sarin exposure improved the survival from about 50% to 75% at 24 h; however, many animals died within hours after removal from the oxygen chambers. On the other hand, if LD{sub 50} sarin-exposed animals were administered the bronchodilator epinephrine, > 90% of the animals survived. Moreover, while both epinephrine and oxygen treatments moderated cardiorespiratory parameters, the proinflammatory cytokine surge, and elevated expression of hypoxia-inducedmore » factor-1α, only epinephrine consistently reduced the sarin-induced bronchoconstriction. These data suggest that severe bronchoconstriction is a critical factor in the mortality induced by LD{sub 50} sarin inhalation, and epinephrine may limit the ventilatory, inflammatory, and lethal effects of sarin. - Highlights: • Inhalation exposure of rats to LD{sub 50} sarin causes death through respiratory failure. • Severe bronchoconstriction is the major cause of sarin-induced respiratory failure. • Transfer of sarin exposed rats to 60% oxygen improves the mortality temporarily. • Epinephrine improves bronchoconstriction and mortality in LD{sub 50} sarin-exposed rats. • Both epinephrine and oxygen moderate the sarin-induced lung inflammatory response.« less
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Publication Date:
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology; Journal Volume: 274; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2013 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States