Biochemical and hematological findings of Khorasan veterans 23 years after sulfur mustard exposure

Mohammad Reza Keramati, Mahdi Balali-Mood, Seyed Reza Mousavi, Mahmood Sadeghi, Bamdad Riahi-Zanjani


Background: Sulfur mustard (SM) is an incapacitating chemical warfare agent, which has been widely employed in particular regions including Iran. We investigated and reported delayed biochemical and hematological complications of SM in severely toxic Iranian veterans 23 years after exposure. Materials and Methods: Forty-two Iranian veterans, residents of Khorasan Razavi, poisoned by SM, and suffering from clinical complications were investigated. A total of 30 healthy male volunteers were also selected as a
control group. Biochemical and hematological variables were measured for the case and control groups. Data were analyzed using a Student’s t-test by InStat software (GraphPad Inc., San Diego, CA) to determine significant differences between the data from the
two groups. Results: The percentages of reticulocytes were significantly higher in patients (0.82 ± 0.04, P < 0.05). Total protein and albumin levels were significantly lower in veterans (total protein: 7.58 ± 0.07 g/dL, albumin: 4.97 ± 0.04 g/dL, P < 0.01). In addition,
we observed a significant increase in serum cholesterol (226.74 ± 5.23 mg/dL, P < 0.01), triglyceride (173.53 ± 17.05 mg/dL, P < 0.05),and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GTT) activity of the patients (44.04 ± 3.35 IU/L, P < 0.05). Conclusion: Results showed that SM
can cause long-term effects on some biochemical factors of veterans. As many of the functional tests of liver and kidney between two groups were statistically unchanged, it seems that the observed biochemical changes may be secondary to delayed respiratory
complications of the patients.

Key words: Albumin, complications, Khorasan Razavi, sulfur mustard, veterans

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