Superfund Research Program
Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study
Project Leader: Habibul Ahsan (University of Chicago)
Co-Investigators: Ana Navas-Acien, Muhammad G. Kibriya (University of Chicago), Farzana Jasmine (University of Chicago)
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2000-2021
The Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS) research resource has already been successfully used by a wide cadre of researchers investigating health effects of arsenic (As) on dietary and lifestyle exposures. The researchers continued to follow the HEALS participants and during the past year, they completed a rapid follow-up of original cohort participants, collecting urine and water samples from all available (n=10,499). During the past year, HEALS resources produced nine published and several submitted papers. The research activities mostly focused on the inter-individual variability, such as genetic factors and gut microbiota in relation to the association between arsenic exposure and health effects. A significant highlight involves the study investigating the role of gut microbiome and its interaction with arsenic exposure in carotid intima-media (Wu et al., 2018). These data suggest that the gut microbiome may play an important role in the development of atherosclerosis, especially among individuals with higher levels of As exposure. Since bacterial profiles are modifiable, the study findings, once validated by future studies, may lead to interventions. Argos et al.(2018) proposed a novel approach to boost power for genome-wide interaction research, enabling the identification of interactions that will enhance the understanding of disease etiology and ability to develop interventions targeted at susceptible sub-populations. In a first genome-wide association studies of telomere length in a South Asian population, Delgado et al. (2018) reported a novel association signal in the RTEL1 gene. Bozack et al.(2018) showed folic acid supplementation had a significant role in As toxicity.