Inhaled Isobutyl Nitrite Impairs T Cell Reactivity

  • Lee S. F. Soderberg
  • John B. Barnett
  • Louis W. Chang
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 288)


Amyl nitrite has vasodilatory effects and has been used since 1867 for relief from angina pectoris (1). Starting in the 1960s, inhalation of volatile nitrites became a common form of drug abuse, particularly among male homosexuals, but also among adolescents (2). Reports have appeared suggesting that the abuse of nitrite inhalants is a co-factor in AIDS (3) or in Kaposi’s sarcoma in AIDS patients (4), but other studies found no such correlation (5). However, no firm conclusions can be drawn based on these conflicting population studies. Animal inhalation studies by Lynch, Lewis, and collaborators (6,7) and by McFadden and Maickel (8) showed that inhalation of isobutyl nitrite at occupational exposure levels (300–400 ppm) had little toxic or immunotoxic consequences. Abusers, however, are exposed to much higher doses of the inhalants (> 1500 ppm) for shorter duration (10–20 inhalations over several hours, often daily) (2,9). In the present study, we evaluated immunotoxicity in mice exposed to isobutyl nitrite at levels which mimic abuser exposures.


Spleen Cell Inhalation Chamber Amyl Nitrite Isobutyl Nitrite Allogeneic Stimulation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee S. F. Soderberg
    • 1
  • John B. Barnett
    • 1
  • Louis W. Chang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology & Immunology, College of MedicineUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathology, College of MedicineUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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