Faculty Publications and Presentations

Development of an Acute, Short-term Exposure Model for Phosgene

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Phosgene is classified as a chemical warfare agent, yet data on its short-duration high concentration toxicity in a nose-only exposure rat model is sparse and inconsistent. Hence, an exposure system for short-term/high concentration exposure was developed and characterized. Herein, we report the median lethal concentration (LC50) for a 10-min nasal exposure of phosgene in a 24-h rat survival model. Male Wistar rats (Envigo) weighing 180–210 g on the day of exposure, were exposed to phosgene gas via nose-only inhalation using a system specifically designed to allow the simultaneous exposure and quantification of phosgene. After 24 h, the surviving rats were euthanized, the lung/body mass ratio determined, and lung tissues analyzed for histopathology. Increased terminal airway edema in the lungs located primarily at the alveoli (resulting in an increased lung/body mass ratio) coincided with the observed mortality. An LC50 value of 129.2 mg/m3 for a 10-min exposure was determined. Furthermore, in agreement with other highly toxic compounds, this study reveals a LC50 concentration value supportive of a nonlinear toxic load model, where the toxic load exponent is >1 (ne = 1.17). Thus, in line with other chemical warfare agents, phosgene toxicity is predicted to be more severe with short-duration, high-concentration exposures than long-duration, low-concentration exposures. This model is anticipated to be refined and developed to screen novel therapeutics against relevant short-term high concentration phosgene exposures expected from a terrorist attack, battlefield deployment, or industrial accident.