Exposure to the Abused Inhalant, Isobutyl Nitrite, Compromises both Antibody and Cell-Mediated Immunity

  • Lee S. F. Soderberg
  • John B. Barnett
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 335)


Isobutyl nitrite is a drug of abuse popular among male homosexuals (1). Frequent abuse of nitrite inhalants has been correlated with seropositivity to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (2) and with the incidence of Kaposi’s sarcoma among AIDS patients (3). Inhalation studies by Lynch, Lewis, and collaborators (4, 5) and by McFadden and Maickel (6) using animals showed that isobutyl nitrite at occupational exposure levels, 300–400 ppm 7–8 hr/day, had little toxic or immunotoxic consequences. Abusers, however, expose themselves to doses in excess of 1500 ppm for shorter duration (10–20 inhalations over several hours, often on a daily basis (1, 7). We previously reported (8, 9) that mice exposed to isobutyl nitrite in an inhalation chamber for 45 min per day for 14 days to 900 ppm isobutyl nitrite had severely compromised T-dependent antibody responses. In the present study, this was extended to examine dose effects and the time to recovery. In addition, it is reported that such exposure also severely compromised cell-mediated immunity.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Spleen Cell Mixed Lymphocyte Reaction Inhalation Chamber Abuse Inhalant 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee S. F. Soderberg
    • 1
  • John B. Barnett
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Microbiol. and ImmunolCollege of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Microbiol. and ImmunolWest Virginia Univ. School of Med.MorgantownUSA

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