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Arh Hig Rada Toksikol. 2013;64(1):77-86. doi: 10.2478/10004-1254-64-2012-2189.

Ebselen analogues reduce 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulphide toxicity in A-431 cells.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY 11439, USA.


Vesicants are potent blistering agents. The prototype vesicant is sulphur mustard gas, first used in World War I, which still has no effective antidote. We used a mustard gas surrogate 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulphide (CEES) to study the ability of resveratrol (RES) and pterostilbene (PTS), two well-established stilbene antioxidants, ebselen (EB-1), an organoselenium compound, and three EB-1 analogues (EB-2, EB-3, and EB-4) to reduce CEES toxicity in human epidermoid carcinoma cells (A-431). Following a 24-hour incubation of a toxic concentration of CEES (1000 μmol L-1), we used the MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol- 2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] test to analyse cell viability. Different concentrations of test antioxidants alone (15 μmol L-1, 30 μmol L-1 or 60 μmol L-1) did not decrease cell viability. Treatment with CEES and test antioxidants for 24 h showed that only EB-1 and its analogues EB-2, EB-3, and EB-4 but not the stilbene compounds could rescue the cells from death. EB-1 and EB-4 were the most effective at reducing CEES cytotoxicity and did so in a concentration-dependent manner, while EB-2 and EB-3 demonstrated the least protective effect. In summary, the data described herein indicate that organoselenium antioxidants, especially EB-4, may prove useful as countermeasures to blistering agents.

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