Denver's CounterACT program was formed to develop models of sulfur mustard (SM) toxicity to lung and skin, understand injury pathogenesis, and evaluate novel antioxidants to rescue SM-mediated injuries. SM analog CEES (2-chloroethyl ethylsulfide) caused inflammation, DNA damage (8-hydroxydeoxy-guanosine accumulation;comet assay;ATM/ATR activation and downstream signaling) and lipid peroxidation (4- hydroxynonenal) in tissues, as well as inflammation. In lung, CEES caused bronchial vascular injury/leak. Airway obstructive fibrin-containing casts formed after inhalation exposures to CEES or SM, and similar lesions were apparent after chlorine (400 ppm). Catalytic antioxidant AEOL10150, which scavenges superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxides, and peroxynitrite, rescued: a) upper (nasal) and lower airway injuries by CEES;b) lower airway injury by SM;c) oxidative stress, inflammation and methacholine reactivity due to chlorine;and d) skin injuries by CEES such as inflammation and neutrophil infiltration. A natural dietary supplement silibinin also rescued skin injuries by CEES. New data showed: a) AEOL10150 efficacy to limit injury by escalated CEES and SM exposures, as well as acute lung injury by higher (250 ppm) chlorine concentrations, b) coagulation activation in the CEES inhalation and chlorine models, and c) efficacy of tPA (tissue-type plasminogen activator) in late rescue, starting 4h after CEES inhalation. Next cycle, Denver CounterACT will: a) establish early anticoagulant and/or late fibrinolytic agent efficacies in airways obstruction by CEES, SM and chlorine, b) evaluate AEOL10150 in profound airway injuries by these agents (both alone and combined with anticoagulant and/or fibrinolytic approaches), and c) evaluate AEOL10150 and flavonoid silibinin to rescue skin injuries by CEES, nitrogen mustard (NM), and SM. Effective anticoagulant and/or fibrinolytic agents will be cross-checked to verify lack of exacerbation of skin injuries. Endpoints of oxidative stress, inflammation, increased permeability, and, for lungs, airway obstruction, will be evaluated. Agent(s) found effective for CEES/NM would be evaluated in skin injury by SM. These approaches will identify promising rescue agents for skin and lung injury by toxic gases.

Public Health Relevance

The purpose of the CounterACT Program is to develop specific medical countermeasures that can be used to rescue victims of civilian disaster, acts of terrorism, military attack after exposures to toxic inhaled gases, vesicants, or nerve agents. This proposal is to develop for testing agents that can be used as rescue agents when given one to several hours after exposure to vesicants or toxic gases. These will include antioxidants, anticoagulants, anti-inflammatories, etc, that show promise in model systems of these processes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Specialized Center--Cooperative Agreements (U54)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-MDCN-J (54))
Program Officer
Nadadur, Srikanth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Colorado Denver
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Houin, Paul R; Veress, Livia A; Rancourt, Raymond C et al. (2015) Intratracheal heparin improves plastic bronchitis due to sulfur mustard analog. Pediatr Pulmonol 50:118-26
Goswami, Dinesh G; Kumar, Dileep; Tewari-Singh, Neera et al. (2015) Topical nitrogen mustard exposure causes systemic toxic effects in mice. Exp Toxicol Pathol 67:161-70
Tewari-Singh, Neera; Jain, Anil K; Orlicky, David J et al. (2014) Cutaneous injury-related structural changes and their progression following topical nitrogen mustard exposure in hairless and haired mice. PLoS One 9:e85402
Rancourt, Raymond C; Ahmad, Aftab; Veress, Livia A et al. (2014) Antifibrinolytic mechanisms in acute airway injury after sulfur mustard analog inhalation. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 51:559-67
Inturi, Swetha; Tewari-Singh, Neera; Agarwal, Chapla et al. (2014) Activation of DNA damage repair pathways in response to nitrogen mustard-induced DNA damage and toxicity in skin keratinocytes. Mutat Res 763-764:53-63
Jain, Anil K; Tewari-Singh, Neera; Inturi, Swetha et al. (2014) Histopathological and immunohistochemical evaluation of nitrogen mustard-induced cutaneous effects in SKH-1 hairless and C57BL/6 mice. Exp Toxicol Pathol 66:129-38
Ahmad, Shama; Ahmad, Aftab; Neeves, Keith B et al. (2014) In vitro cell culture model for toxic inhaled chemical testing. J Vis Exp :
Day, Brian J (2014) Antioxidant therapeutics: Pandora's box. Free Radic Biol Med 66:58-64
Tewari-Singh, Neera; Inturi, Swetha; Jain, Anil K et al. (2014) Catalytic antioxidant AEOL 10150 treatment ameliorates sulfur mustard analog 2-chloroethyl ethyl sulfide-associated cutaneous toxic effects. Free Radic Biol Med 72:285-95
Jain, Anil K; Tewari-Singh, Neera; Inturi, Swetha et al. (2014) Myeloperoxidase deficiency attenuates nitrogen mustard-induced skin injuries. Toxicology 320:25-33

Showing the most recent 10 out of 38 publications