Evaluation of barrier creams against sulphur mustard: (II) in vivo and in vitro studies using the domestic white pig

Robert Chilcott, Christopher H. Dalton, Zoe Ashley, Ceri E. Allen, Simon T. Bradley, Michael P. Maidment, John Jenner, Roger F. R. Brown, Robert J. Gwyther, Paul Rice

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies in our laboratory have demonstrated that barrier creams, comprising perfluorinated polymers, are effective against the chemical warfare agent sulphur mustard (SM) when evaluated using human skin in vitro. The purpose of this follow-up study was to further evaluate three candidate ( perfluorinated) barrier creams against SM ( vapour) using the domestic white pig. The severity and progression of the resulting skin lesions were quantified daily for three weeks post-exposure using biophysical measurements of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin reflectance spectroscopy (SRS). Skin biopsies obtained post-mortem were evaluated by light microscopy and additional skin samples were obtained from adjacent ( unexposed) skin sites for a comparative in vitro skin absorption study. Samples of SM vapour within the dosing chambers were measured ex vivo to ascertain the exposure dose (Ct). The three creams were highly effective against SM in vivo (Ct similar to 5000 mg center dot min center dot m(-3)): After 3 weeks, barrier cream pre-treated sites were not significantly different from control ( unexposed) skin when evaluated by TEWL, SRS or histology. In contrast, skin exposed to SM without pre-treatment showed evidence of persistent damage that was consistent with the slow healing time observed in humans. The amount of SM absorbed in vitro in untreated pig skin was similar to that required to cause comparable lesions in human skin (8 - 20 and 4 - 10 mu g center dot cm(-2), respectively), further validating the use of pigs as a toxicologically-relevant dermal model for SM exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
JournalCutaneous and Ocular Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • chemical warfare agent
  • reflectance spectroscopy
  • skin protection
  • TEWL
  • topical skin protectant
  • SKIN


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