Abrin as a chemical weapon
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Toxicology. 2012 Sep 4;299(1):33-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 May 14. Transcriptomic profile of host response in mouse brain after exposure to plant toxin abrin. Bhaskar AS, Gupta N, Rao PV
Abrin toxin is a plant glycoprotein, which is similar in structure and properties to ricin and is obtained from the seeds of Abrus precatorius (jequirity bean). Abrin is highly toxic, with an estimated human fatal dose of 0.1-1 μg/kg, and has caused death after accidental and intentional poisoning.
Abrin is a potent biological toxin warfare agent.
There are no chemical antidotes available against the toxin. Neurological symptoms like delirium, hallucinations, reduced consciousness and generalized seizures were reported in human poisoning cases. Death of a patient with symptoms of acute demyelinating encephalopathy with gastrointestinal bleeding due to ingestion of abrin seeds was reported in India.
The aim of this study was to examine both dose and time-dependent transcriptional responses induced by abrin in the adult mouse brain. Mice (n=6) were exposed to 1 and 2 LD50 (2.83 and 5.66 μg/kg respectively) dose of abrin by intraperitoneal route and observed over 3 days. A subset of animals (n=3) were sacrificed at 1 and 2 day intervals for microarray and histopathology analysis. None of the 2 LD50 exposed animals survived till 3 days.
The histopathological analysis showed the severe damage in brain and the infiltration of inflammatory cells in a dose and time dependent manner. The abrin exposure resulted in the induction of rapid immune and inflammatory response in brain.
Clinical biochemistry parameters like lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, urea and creatinine showed significant increase at 2-day 2 LD50 exposure. The whole genome microarray data revealed the significant regulation of various pathways like MAPK pathway, cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway, Jak-STAT signaling pathway and natural killer cell mediated toxicity. The comparison of differential gene expression at both the doses showed dose dependent effects of abrin toxicity. The real-time qRT-PCR analysis of selected genes supported the microarray data. This is the first report on host-gene response using whole genome microarray in an animal model after abrin exposure. The data generated provides leads for developing suitable medical counter measures against abrin poisoning.
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