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:: Volume 3, Issue 3 (9-2001) ::
2001, 3(3): 211-222 Back to browse issues page
The effect of chemical weaponry on endocrine system
F Azizi
Abstract:   (18872 Views)
Abstract: Different effects of nitrogen mustard-containing chemical weopons on respiratory, hematologic and gastrointestinal systems, skin, eyes, and also their mutagenic and teratogenic effects have been reported, but effects on endocrine system had not been recognized until 15 years ago. Although it was known that similar substances used as chemotherpeutic agents can stop spermatogenesis and cause ovarian failure, these effects are seen in the course of continuous use and cannot be extended to chemical weoponry. During Iran-Iraq war, Endocrine Research Center, for the first time in the world, conducted extensive research to identify effects of chemical weapons. During the first week after contact with these substances, serum levels of thyroid hormones decrease and reverse T3 increases. T4 and FT4I increase 3 weeks after the exposure, but T3 and FT3I levels are still depressed in the fifth week. TSH level is not importantly affected. These changes are not present in soldiers exposed to nerve gases. Changes in thyroid hormones resemble severe burns and are due to pituitary-thyroid axis hypofunction and decreased periphereal conversion of T4 to T3. Serum cortisol and ACTH tend to increase one week after the injury ACTH continues to rise until the fifth week, but cortisol decreases gradually, dropping remarkably in the 5th week. Thus, at the beginning the strong stress brings about a rise in plasma cortisol and ACTH, but 3-5 weeks following the exposure, nitrogen mustard exerts direct effects on the adrenal gland. During the first weeks, total and free testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone fall dramatically. Serum levels of LH and FSH are normal, but they respond inadequately to GnRH. In the third week LH, and in the fifth FSH and prolactin rise and reach normal levels after 12 weeks. Sperm count shows remarkable decrease in most victims of nitrogen mustard in the years following injury. Testicular biopsies showed complete or relative cessation of spermatogenesis. On the whole, effects of nitrogen mustard-containing weaponry during the first weeks are due to stress and resemble burns. On the other hand, these substances have direct effects on DNA replication in cells, with negative effects on spermatogenesis, which can last for many years. It is recommended that hormone activities of chemical weaponry victims, especially testicular function and spermatogenesis, should be monitored for some years after exposure.
Keywords: Chemical weaponry, Endocrine systerm, Thyroid function, Spermatogenesis, Nitrogen mustard, Adrenal gland, Testis.
Full-Text [PDF 407 kb]   (5695 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Review | Subject: Endocrinology
Received: 2006/11/21 | Published: 2001/09/15
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Azizi F. The effect of chemical weaponry on endocrine system. Iranian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2001; 3 (3) :211-222
URL: http://ijem.sbmu.ac.ir/article-1-184-en.html

Volume 3, Issue 3 (9-2001) Back to browse issues page
مجله ی غدد درون‌ریز و متابولیسم ایران، دو ماهنامه  پژوهشی مرکز تحقیقات غدد درون‌ریز و متابولیسم، Iranian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism
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