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Molecular and Cellular Mechanism of Cutaneous Injuries Due to Exposure to Sulfur Mustard

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 9 ]


Yunes Panahi, Seyyed Mahdi Rajaee and Amirhossein Sahebkar*   Pages 1012 - 1018 ( 7 )


Background: Sulfur Mustard (SM), a chemical agent that is fat soluble with garlic-like or mustard odor and it needs moisture for activation. The mustard agent has alkylating, blistering and vesicating properties. Various cellular and molecular mechanisms of different signaling pathways are responsible for these acute and delayed cutaneous complications in the SM-exposed victims. The aim of this study is to review these mechanisms and signaling pathways.

Methods: Published articles, books, and conference papers were searched in PubMed, Scopus and Google Scholar using relevant keywords to find studies describing the mechanisms of SM-induced dermatotoxicity.

Results: Ninety percent of the SM-exposed victims show cutaneous lesions. Erythema, small vesicle, large blisters, erosion and partial or complete skin loss, are an acute sign of cutaneous SM exposure. Burning, dry skin, hypo and hyperpigmentation, pain, pruritus, redness are the most common chronic complications of SM-exposure. Various cellular and molecular mechanisms such as DNA adduct formation, inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis are responsible for these acute and delayed cutaneous complications in the SM-exposed victims.

Conclusion: Inflammation and formation of blister, ulcer and pseudomembrane are consequences of SM exposure in the skin. Cellular infiltration, separation of cell layers and cell death are responsible for these complications.


Sulfur mustard, cutaneous complications, chronic toxicity, genotoxicity, fat soluble, erythema.


Pharmacotherapy Department, School of Pharmacy, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Gastrointestinal Pharmacology Interest Group (GPIG), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, School of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad

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