Arsenite methyltransferase (AS3MT) polymorphisms and arsenic methylation in children in rural Bangladesh

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Background:Arsenic methylation efficiency, a susceptibility factor for arsenic toxicity, is in adults partly explained by variation in arsenite methyltransferase (AS3MT) gene. Little is known about the role of AS3MT for children's arsenic methylation.Objectives:Evaluating associations between AS3MT polymorphisms and children's arsenic methylation efficiency.Methods:Bangladeshi children's arsenic exposure (9-years; n = 424) was assessed as sum urinary concentration of inorganic arsenic (iAs) and its metabolites (monomethylarsonic acid [MMA] and dimethylarsinic acid [DMA]) using HPLC-HG-ICPMS. Arsenic methylation efficiency was assessed by the individual metabolite fractions (%). AS3MT polymorphisms (rs7085104, rs3740400, rs3740393 and rs1046778) were genotyped using TaqMan SNP genotyping assays.Results:We found higher %iAs and %MMA, and lower %DMA in urine, among rs1046778 TT carriers (median 8.8%, 9.6% and 81.1% for iAs, MMA and DMA, respectively), compared to CC carriers (median 7.0%, 8.3% and 84.9%). These associations were significant in multivariable-adjusted linear regression models: B-coefficients for TT vs CC were 1.26, 1.33 and −2.59 for iAs, MMA and DMA, respectively. Effect estimates were slightly stronger when restricting the analyses to children with urinary arsenic ≥58 μg/L (reducing the impact of ingested DMA). Estimates in girls were slightly stronger than in boys, although there were no significant differences between boys and girls. No clear associations were found for the other AS3MT polymorphisms.Conclusions:One out of four AS3MT polymorphisms, previously associated with arsenic methylation in adults, was associated with arsenic methylation in children. Thus, AS3MT variation seems to influence arsenic methylation efficiency in children to a lesser extent than in adults.HighlightsArsenic (As) methylation efficiency is a susceptibility factor for As toxicity.AS3MT rs1046778 was associated with As metabolite fractions in urine of children.AS3MT variation had less impact on As methylation in children than in adults.Sex-differences on the effect of AS3MT on As methylation were inconclusive.

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