Changes in serum thioredoxin among individuals chronically exposed to arsenic in drinking water

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It is well known that oxidative damage plays a key role in the development of chronic arsenicosis. There is a complex set of mechanisms of redox cycling in vivo to protect cells from the damage. In this study, we examined the differences in the levels of serum thioredoxin1 (TRX1) among individuals exposed to different levels of arsenic in drinking water and detected early biomarkers of arsenic poisoning before the appearance of skin lesions. A total of 157 subjects from endemic regions of China were selected and divided into arsenicosis group with skin lesions (total intake of arsenic: 8.68–45.71 mg-year) and non-arsenicosis group without skin lesions, which further divided into low (0.00–1.06 mg-year), medium (1.37–3.55 mg-year), and high (4.26–48.13 mg-year) arsenic exposure groups. Concentrations of serum TRX1 were analyzed by an ELISA method. Levels of water arsenic and urinary speciated arsenics, including inorganic arsenic (iAs), monomethylated arsenic (MMA), and dimethylated arsenic (DMA), were determined by hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry. Our results showed that the levels of serum TRX1 in arsenicosis patients were significantly higher than that of the subjects who were chronically exposed to arsenic, but without skin lesions. A positive correlation was seen between the levels of serum TRX1 and the total water arsenic intake or the levels of urinary arsenic species. The results of this study indicate that arsenic exposure could significantly change the levels of human serum TRX1, which can be detected before arsenic-specific dermatological symptoms occur. This study provides further evidence on revealing the mechanism of arsenic toxicity.

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