Abrin is a highly toxic protein produced by Abrus precatorius. Exposure to abrin, either through accident or by act of terrorism, poses a significant risk to human health and safety. Abrin functions as a ribosome-inactivating protein by depurinating the 28S rRNA and inhibits protein synthesis. It is a potent toxin warfare agent. There are no antidotes available for abrin intoxication. Supportive care is the only option for treatment of abrin exposure. It is becoming increasingly important to develop countermeasures for abrin by developing pre- and post-exposure therapy. The aim of this study is to screen certain pharmaceutical compounds for their chemoprotective properties against abrin toxicity in vivo in BALB/c male mice. Twenty-one compounds having either antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cyto-protective properties or combination of them, were screened and administered as 1h pre-treatment followed by exposure of lethal dose (2×LD50, intraperitoneally) of abrin. To assess the protective efficacy of the compounds, survival and body weight was monitored. Fifteen compounds extended the survival time of animals significantly, as compared to abrin. The following five of these compounds, namely: Epicatechin-3-gallate, Gallic Acid, Lipoic Acid, GSH and Indomethacin extended the life time ranging from 6 to 9 days. These compounds also attenuated the abrin induced inflammation and enzymes associated with liver function, but none of them could prevent abrin induced lethality. The compounds offering extension of life could be useful to provide a time-window for other supportive treatment and could also be used as combinatorial therapy with other medical countermeasures against abrin induced lethality.
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