Early indicators of survival following exposure to mustard gas: Protective role of 25(OH)D

Lopa M. Das, Amy M. Binko, Zachary P. Traylor, Lori R. Duesler, Scott M. Dynda, Sara Debanne, Kurt Q. Lu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The use of sulfur mustard (SM) as a chemical weapon for warfare has once again assumed center stage, endangering civilian and the military safety. SM causes rapid local skin vesication and late-onset systemic toxicity. Most studies on SM rely on obtaining tissue and blood for characterizing burn pathogenesis and assessment of systemic pathology, respectively. However the present study focuses on developing a non-invasive method to predict mortality from high dose skin SM exposure. We demonstrate that exposure to SM leads to a dose dependent increase in wound area size on the dorsal surface of mice that is accompanied by a progressive loss in body weight loss, blood cytopenia, bone marrow destruction, and death. Thus our model utilizes local skin destruction and systemic outcome measures as variables to predict mortality in a novel skin-based model of tissue injury. Based on our recent work using vitamin D (25(OH)D) as an intervention to treat toxicity from SM-related compounds, we explored the use of 25(OH)D in mitigating the toxic effects of SM. Here we show that 25(OH)D offers protection against SM and is the first known demonstration of an intervention that prevents SM-induced mortality. Furthermore, 25(OH)D represents a safe, novel, and readily translatable potential countermeasure following mass toxic exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalToxicology Letters
StatePublished - Apr 25 2016


  • 25(OH)D
  • Inflammation
  • Intervention
  • Mortality model
  • Sulfur mustard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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