Dysregulation of the mTOR pathway by mechlorethamine

Toxicology. 2023 Mar 1:486:153434. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2023.153434. Epub 2023 Jan 26.


Mechlorethamine (HN2) is a derivative of the chemical warfare agent sulfur mustard (SM) and cutaneous exposure to HN2 is associated with dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ) disruption (vesication). The primary purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of HN2 on the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway using an in vivo mouse ear vesicant model (MEVM). To this end, the ears of male C57BL/ 6 J mice were exposed to a single topical dose of HN2 (100 mM) or vehicle control (DMSO). Mice were then euthanized 30 min, 1 h or 24 h following exposure. Mouse ear skin exposed to HN2 and biopsied 24 h thereafter exhibited increased tissue expression of Raptor, an important member of the mTORC1 complex, relative to vehicle treated samples. HN2 reduced the downstream effectors phospho S6 (Ser 240/244) ribosomal protein and phospho 4E-BP1 (Thr 37/46) of the mTOR pathway in the epidermis at 30 min, 1 h and 24 h following HN2 exposure but not in the dermis. These results support the hypothesis that HN2-mediated cutaneous toxicity involves dysregulation of the mTOR signaling pathway in the epidermis.

Keywords: MTOR; Mechlorethamine; Nitrogen mustard; Phospho 4E-BP1; Phospho S6 ribosomal protein; Raptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Male
  • Mammals
  • Mechlorethamine* / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sirolimus* / pharmacology
  • Skin
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Mechlorethamine
  • Sirolimus
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases