Sulfur mustard (SM) is a vesicant chemical warfare agent that persists as a serious menace from the viewpoint
of acute and chronic toxicity, simple synthesis and no effective treatment currently being available. The two most
deleterious basic molecular mechanisms in SM poisoning are: inflammation and over-activation of poly(ADP-ribose)
polymerase and the resulting DNA alkylation. Oxidative stress is the common consequence of these pathway activations.
In the present review, the significance of oxidative stress in SM poisoning is discussed along with research on antioxidant
therapy as a suitable antidote. The temporal dynamics of the redox imbalance, the antioxidant depletion and impact this
has on tissues are described as the pathologies induced by SM. Special attention is paid to ameliorating the damage using
low molecular weight antioxidants. Melatonin, epigallocatechin gallate and flavone derivatives, in particular, have been
studied in recent experiments. The suitability of these antioxidants for therapy purposes is considered in a separate
chapter. The review concludes with a view to the future and the studies needed on antioxidant therapy as a
countermeasure to SM poisoning.
Keywords: apoptosis, DNA repair, inflammation, oxidative stress, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, sulfur mustard.
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