Location of Repository

Metabolism of inorganic arsenic in children with chronic high arsenic exposure in northern Argentina.

By G Concha, B Nermell and M V Vahter


This study concerns the metabolism of inorganic arsenic (As) in children in three villages in northern Argentina: San Antonio de los Cobres and Taco Pozo, each with about 200 microg As/l in the drinking water, and Rosario de Lerma, with 0.65 microg As/l. Findings show that the concentrations of As in the blood and urine of the children in the two As-rich villages were on average 9 and 380 microg/l, respectively, the highest ever recorded for children. The concentrations were about 10 and 30 times higher for blood and urine, respectively, than in Rosario de Lerma. Total As in urine was only slightly higher than the sum of metabolites of inorganic As (U-Asmet), i.e., inorganic As, methylarsonic acid (MMA), and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA); this shows that inorganic As was the main form of As ingested. In contrast to previous studies on urinary metabolites of inorganic As in various population groups, the children and women in the present study excreted very little MMA. Thus, there seems to be a polymorphism for the enzymes (methyltransferases) involved in the methylation of As. Interestingly, the children had a significantly higher percentage of inorganic As in urine than the women, about 50% versus 32%. Also, the percentage of inorganic As in the children is considerably higher than in previous studies on children (about 13% in the two studies available) and adults (about 15-25%) in other population groups. This may indicate that children are more sensitive to As-induced toxicity than adults, as the methylated metabolites bind less to tissue constituents than inorganic As. In the children, the percentage inorganic arsenic in urine decreased, and the percentage of DMA increased with increasing U-Asmet, indicating an induction of As methylation with increasing exposure

Topics: Research Article
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:1533000
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles



    1. (1981). A rapid method for the selective analysis of total urinary metabolites of inorganic arsenic.
    2. (1995). A unique metabolism of inorganic arsenic in native Andean women.
    3. (1986). Airborne arsenic and urinary excretion of metabolites of inorganic arsenic among smelter worker. Int Arch Occup Environ Health
    4. (1993). Arsenic and cadmium exposure in children living near a smelter complex in San Luis Potosi,
    5. Arsenic burden among children in industrial areas of eastern Germany.
    6. (1992). Arsenic content in water in the northwest area of Argentina. In:
    7. (1987). Arsenic exposure in children living near a former copper smelter.
    8. Arsenic in groundwater in six districts of West Bengal, India: the biggest arsenic calamity in the world: the status report up to August,
    9. Arsenic metabolites in hair, blood and urine in workers exposed to arsenic trioxide.
    10. (1992). Cancer potential in liver, lung, bladder and kidney due to ingested inorganic arsenic in drinking water.
    11. (1996). Chromosomal aberrations in peripheral blood lymphocytes from native Andean women and children from northwestern Argentina exposed to arsenic in drinking water.
    12. (1983). Chronic arsenic poisoning in the north of Mexico. Hum Toxicol
    13. (1986). Concentrations of arsenic in urine of the general population in Sweden. Sci Total Environ
    14. (1982). Dry ashing hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometric determination of arsenic and selenium in food.
    15. (1987). Effects of low dietary intake of methionine, choline or proteins on the biotransformation of arsenite in the rabbit.
    16. Environmental and clinical investigations on endemic chronic arsenic poisoning in infants and children.
    17. (1997). Environmental arsenic exposure of children around a former copper smelter site.
    18. (1981). Environmental Health Criteria 18. Geneva:World Health Organization,
    19. (1029). Enzymatic methylation of arsenic compounds: assay, partial purification, and properties of arsenite methyltransferase and monomethylarsonic acid methyltransferase of rabbit liver. Chem Res Toxicol
    20. (1997). Exposure and Health Effects (Abernathy CO,
    21. (1993). Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd ed. Geneva:World Health Organization,
    22. (1993). Human studies do not support the methylation threshold hypothesis for the toxicity of inorganic arsenic.
    23. In vivo methylation and detoxication of arsenic. In: The Biological Alkylation of Heavy Elements (Craig PJ, Glockling F, eds). London:Royal Society ofChemistry,
    24. (1955). Infant arsenic poisoning by powdered milk.
    25. (1997). Intercomparison of analytical methods for arsenic speciation in human urine. Environ Health Perspect
    26. (1998). Low-level arsenic excretion in breast milk of native Andean women exposed to high levels of arsenic in the drinking water. Int Arch Occup Environ Health
    27. Marked increase in bladder and lung cancer mortality in a region of northern Chile due to arsenic in drinking water.
    28. (1994). Measurement of selenium in serum.
    29. Metabolic interrelationships between arsenic and selenium.
    30. Metdilogkul 0. Chronic arsenic poisoning from well water in a mining area in Thailand.
    31. (1996). Methylation study of a population environmentally exposed to arsenic in drinking water. Environ Health Perspect
    32. (1993). Non-analytic problems in detecting arsenic and cadmium in children living near a cadmium refinery in Denver,
    33. (1991). Occupational and environmental exposure to arsenic-increased urinary arsenic level in children.
    34. (1980). Repeated surveillance of exposure to cadmium, manganese, and arsenic in school-age children living in rural, urban, and nonferrous smelter areas in Belgium. Environ Res
    35. (1988). Role of thiols in the in-vitro methylation of inorganic arsenic by rat liver cytosol.
    36. (1989). Selenium: clinical significance and analytical concepts. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci
    37. (1978). Separation of arsenic metabolites in dog plasma and urine following intravenous injection of 74As.
    38. (1988). Special Report on Ingested Inorganic Arsenic: Skin Cancer; Nutritional Essentiality.
    39. (1994). Species differences in the metabolism of arsenic compounds.
    40. (1947). The Atacameno. In
    41. (1990). The effect of variable environmental arsenic contamination on urinary concentrations of arsenic species.
    42. The marmoset and tamarin, but not the rhesus, monkeys are deficient in methyltransferases thatmethylate inorganic arsenic.
    43. (1984). The speciation of the chemical forms of arsenic in the biological monitoring of exposure to inorganic arsenic.
    44. (1977). The suitability of the dry ashing procedure for determination of arsenic in marine samples.

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.