The skin reservoir of sulphur mustard

I. J. Hattersley, J. Jenner, C. Dalton, Robert Chilcott, J. S. Graham

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of the percutaneous reservoir of sulphur mustard (HD) formed during absorption carried out during WWI and WWII are inconclusive. More recent studies have indicated that a significant amount of HD remains in human epidermal membranes during percutaneous penetration studies in vitro. present study investigated the nature and persistence of the HD reservoir formed during in vitro penetration studies using dermatomed slices of human and pig skin (0.5 mm thick). Amounts of C-14-HD that penetrated, (b) remained on the surface, (c) were extractable from and (d) remained in the skin after were estimated by liquid scintillation counting (confirmed using GC-MS analysis). results demonstrated that there is a reservoir of HD in human and pig skin for up to 24 h after contamination of the skin surface in vitro with liquid agent. At least some of this reservoir could be extracted acetonitrile, and the amounts of extracted and unextracted HD exceed the amount required to produce injury in vivo by at least 20 fold. The study demonstrated the presence of a reservoir whether the was covered (occluded) or left open to the air (unoccluded). study concluded that the extractable reservoir was significant in terms of the amount of HID required induce a vesicant response in human skin. The extractable reservoir was at least 20 times the amount per cm(2) estimated to cause a response in all of the human population, as defined by studies carried out in human volunteers during the 1940s. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1539-1546
Number of pages8
JournalToxicology in Vitro
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • dermal
  • skin
  • reservoir
  • sulphur mustard


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