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Toxicology Studies on Lewisite and Sulfur Mustard Agents: Modified Dominant Lethal Study of Sulfur Mustard in Rats

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Final rept. 18 Sep 1984-31 May 1989

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Occupational health standards have not been established for sulfur mustard HD bis2-chloroethyl-sulfide, a strong alkylating agent with known mutagenic properties. Little, however, is known about the mutagenic activity of HD in mammalian species and data regarding the dominant lethal effects of HD are ambiguous. The purpose of this study was to determine the dominant lethal effect in male and female rats orally exposed to HD. The study was conducted in two phases a female dominant lethal phase and a male dominant lethal phase. For the female phase, treated or untreated males were mated with treated females and their fetuses were evaluated at approximately 14 days after copulation. For the male dominant lethal phase, treated males cohabitated with untreated females and females were sacrificed for fetal evaluation 14 days after the midweek of cohabitation during each of the 10 weeks. The appearance and behavior of the rats were unremarkable throughout the experiment and there were no treatment- related deaths. Indicators of reproductive performance did not demonstrate significant female dominant lethal effects, although significant male dominant lethal effects were observed at 2 and 3 week post-exposure. These effects included increases of early fetal resorptions and preimplantation losses and decreases of total live embryo implants. Although no treatment-related effects on male reproductive organ weights or sperm motility were found, a significant increase in the percentage of abnormal sperm was detected in males exposed to 0. 50 mgkg HD. The timing of these effects is consistent with an effect during the postmeiotic stages of spermatogenesis, possibly involving the generally sensitive spermatids.

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  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

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