Respiratory toxicity and lung injury following inhalation exposure to chemical warfare nerve agent soman was examined in guinea pigs without therapeutics to improve survival. A microinstillation inhalation exposure technique that aerosolizes the agent in the trachea was used to administer soman to anesthetized age and weight matched male guinea pigs. Animals were exposed to 280, 561, 841, and 1121 mg/m(3) concentrations of soman for 4 min. Survival data showed that all saline controls and animals exposed to 280 and 561 mg/m(3) soman survived, while animals exposed to 841, and 1121 mg/m(3) resulted in 38% and 13% survival, respectively. The microinstillation inhalation exposure LCt(50) for soman determined by probit analysis was 827.2mg/m(3). A majority of the animals that died at 1121 mg/m(3) developed seizures and died within 15-30 min post-exposure. There was a dose-dependent decrease in pulse rate and blood oxygen saturation of animals exposed to soman at 5-6.5 min post-exposure. Body weight loss increased with the dose of soman exposure. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and blood acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activity was inhibited dose-dependently in soman treated groups at 24h. BAL cells showed a dose-dependent increase in cell death and total cell counts following soman exposure. Edema by wet/dry weight ratio of the accessory lung lobe and trachea was increased slightly in soman exposed animals. An increase in total bronchoalveolar lavage fluid protein was observed in soman exposed animals at all doses. Differential cell counts of BAL and blood showed an increase in total lymphocyte counts and percentage of neutrophils. These results indicate that microinstillation inhalation exposure to soman causes respiratory toxicity and acute lung injury in guinea pigs.
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