Topical iodine preparation as therapy against sulfur mustard-induced skin lesions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sulfur mustard (SM) is a powerful vesicant employed as an agent of chemical warfare. This study demonstrates the therapeutic effect of a novel topical iodine preparation as a postexposure treatment against SM-induced lesions in the fur-covered guinea-pig skin model. Iodine treatment 15 min after SM exposure resulted in statistically significant reductions of 48, 50, and 55% in dermal acute inflammation, hemorrhage, and necrosis, respectively, whereas, the epidermal healing markers, hyperkerathosis and acanthosis, were significantly elevated by 72 and 67%, respectively, 2 days after treatment. At the interval of 30 min between SM exposure and iodine treatment, there was a significant degree of healing or recovery, albeit to a lesser extent than that observed in the shorter interval. Although the epidermal healing markers were not elevated, the parameters indicative of active tissue damage, such as subepidermal microblisters, epidermal ulceration, dermal acute inflammation, hemorrhage, and necrosis, were significantly reduced by 35, 67, 43, 39, and 45%, respectively. At the 45-min interval between exposure and treatment, there was also a certain degree of healing or recovery expressed as significant reductions in dermal subacute inflammation, subepidermal microblister formation, and epidermal ulceration, whereas, acanthosis was statistically elevated, indicating an increased healing potential. At the 60-min interval, iodine was less efficacious; nevertheless, a significant reduction in the incidence of subepidermal microblisters and an expansion of the acanthotic area were observed. Gross ulceration was significantly decreased at intervals of 15 and 30 min between exposure and treatment. The local anesthetic, lidocaine, did not alter the therapeutic effect of iodine. SM was not affected chemically by iodine as measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. These findings suggest that the iodine preparation functions as an antidote against skin lesions induced by SM.

publication date

  • January 1, 2000