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Exp Lung Res. 2008 May;34(4):183-94. doi: 10.1080/01902140801935082.

The protective effect of Nigella sativa on lung injury of sulfur mustard-exposed Guinea pigs.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacological Research Center of Medicinal Plants, Medical School, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


The lung is one of the most exposable organs to chemical warfare agents such as sulfur mustard (SM) gas. Airway hyperresponsiveness and lung inflammation are reported in chemical warfare victims. There is no definite treatment for respiratory disorders induced by SM exposure. However, the protective effect of Nigella sativa on inflammatory process was shown. In the present study, the protective effect of Nigella sativa on tracheal responsiveness and lung inflammation of SM exposed guinea pigs was examined. Guinea pigs were exposed to diluent's solution (ethanol, control group), 100 mg/m(3) inhaled sulfur mustard (SME group), and SME treated with Nigella sativa, 0.08 g daily (SME+N), n = 6 for each group. Tracheal responsiveness (TR) to methacholine, total white blood cell (WBC) count of lung lavage, and differential WBC were done 14 days post exposure. The weigh of animal were measured at the beginning, middle (day 7), and the end (day 14) of the study. The TR of SM-exposed guinea pigs was significantly (P < .001) and WBC nonsignificantly higher than those of controls. In SME guinea pigs, there was a weight loss but in the case of SME+N guinea pigs, no obvious weight change thought the study was seen. The eosinophl, monocyte, and lympocytes in SME animals were significantly changed compared to control group (P < .001 for all cases). Monocyte, lymphocyte, and neutrophil number were decreased in SME+N group compared to SME animals, which was significant only for neutrophil (P < .05). These results showed a preventive effect of Nigella sativa on TR of SM-exposed guinea pigs.

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