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
Final Progress Reports
The association between individual-level arsenic exposure and dermatological, pulmonary, and cardiovascular health outcomes has not been well established in the scientific literature, particularly at low-to-moderate exposure levels. Through the project’s continued follow-up of the HEALS cohort, Rick Jansen, Ph.D., evaluated the association of arsenic metabolism phenotypes with participant characteristics and arsenical skin lesions. Jansen observed two distinct arsenic metabolism phenotypes uniquely associated with age, sex, body mass index, 10q24.32 genetic variants, and skin lesion status. Metabolism phenotypes include those obtained from principal component (PC) analysis of urinary arsenic species. Two independent PCs were identified: PC1 appeared to represent capacity to produce DMA (second methylation step), and PC2 appeared to represent capacity to convert iAs to MMA (first methylation step). PC2 was positively associated with skin lesion status, while PC1 was not. Furthermore, 10q24.32/AS3MT region polymorphisms were strongly associated with PC1, but not PC2. This work enhances the research team’s understanding of arsenic metabolism kinetics and their ongoing effort to unravel toxicity risk profiles. Wu et al. (2016) showed that periodontal disease is associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, and Pesola et al. (2016) observed an increased risk of heart and lung disease mortality among individuals reporting dyspnea. These endpoints have been previously associated with arsenic exposure and future studies will systematically evaluate interactions with arsenic among individuals with these risk factors.