Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int Immunopharmacol. 2012 May;13(1):101-8. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Inhalation of sulfur mustard causes long-term T cell-dependent inflammation: possible role of Th17 cells in chronic lung pathology.

Author information

Lovelace CounterACT Research Center of Excellence, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, 2425 Ridgecrest Dr. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, USA.


Sulfur mustard (SM) is a highly toxic chemical warfare agent that remains a threat to human health. The immediate symptoms of pulmonary distress may develop into chronic lung injury characterized by progressive lung fibrosis, the major cause of morbidity among the surviving SM victims. Although SM has been intensely investigated, little is known about the mechanism(s) by which SM induces chronic lung pathology. Increasing evidence suggests that IL-17(+) cells are critical in fibrosis, including lung fibrotic diseases. In this study we exposed F344 rats and cynomolgus monkeys to SM via inhalation and determined the molecular and cellular milieu in their lungs at various times after SM exposure. In rats, SM induced a burst of pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines within 72 h, including IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-2, IL-6, CCL2, CCL3, CCL11, and CXCL1 that was associated with neutrophilic infiltration into the lung. At 2 wks and beyond (chronic phase), lymphocytic infiltration and continued elevated expression of cytokines/chemokines were sustained. TGF-β, which was undetectable in the acute phase, was strongly upregulated in the chronic phase; these conditions persisted until the animals were sacrificed. The chronic phase was also associated with myofibroblast proliferation, collagen deposition, and presence of IL-17(+) cells. At ≥30 days, SM inhalation promoted the accumulation of IL-17(+) cells in the inflamed areas of monkey lungs. Thus, SM inhalation causes acute and chronic inflammatory responses; the latter is characterized by the presence of TGF-β, fibrosis, and IL-17(+) cells in the lung. IL-17(+) cells likely play an important role in the pathogenesis of SM-induced lung injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center