Experimental hematology

Leukopenia and altered hematopoietic activity in mice exposed to the abused inhalant, isobutyl nitrite.

PMID 8647236


Isobutyl nitrite is representative of a group of inhalants abused primarily by male homosexuals; abuse of this drug may be a risk factor for AIDS or Kaposi's sarcoma. Using a 14-day exposure regimen, we previously reported that inhaled isobutyl nitrite was immunotoxic to mice, severely compromising T-dependent antibody responses and cytotoxic T cell and macrophage tumoricidal activity. In addition, exposure to the inhalant dramatically reduced spleen cellularity. A single 45-minute inhalation exposure produced anemia in mice. In the present study, we examined the effects of subchronic exposure to the drug on peripheral blood cellularity and hematopoietic activity. Mice were exposed to 900 ppm isobutyl nitrite in an inhalation chamber for 45 minutes/day for 14 days. One day after the final exposure, the number of peripheral blood leukocytes was reduced by 32%; however, the number of erythrocytes was increased by 7%. This was accompanied by an apparent shift from myelopoiesis to erythropoiesis. The numbers of bone marrow and spleen burst-forming units-erythroid (BFU-E) were increased about two-fold, while the numbers of colony-forming units-granulocyte/macrophage (CFU-GM) were decreased by about half. Bone marrow stromal cells also had reductions in the production of myeloid colony-stimulating activity after subchronic exposure to the inhalant. In addition, the numbers of hematopoietic stem cells, colony-forming units-spleen (CFU-S), were reduced in both bone marrow and spleen. Peripheral blood erythrocyte and leukocyte counts returned to normal levels by 7 days after the final exposure, as did the number of BFU-E. The number of CFU-GM remained depressed, however, even after 7 days of recovery. These data suggest that repeated exposures nonspecifically depleted cells and that erythropoiesis was stimulated, apparently at the expense of myelopoiesis.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Isobutyl nitrite, 95%