Superfund Research Program
Molecular Effects of Low Level Exposure to Arsenic
Project Leader: A. Jay Gandolfi
Grant Number: P42ES004940
Funding Period: 2000-2015
Project Summary (2000-2005)
Arsenic (As) is an inorganic environmental contaminant of major concern in the desert Southwest due to its ubiquitous presence and its occurrence in drinking waters. Chronic exposure to arsenic frequently results in skin, lung, bladder, and kidney cancer. The hypothesis of this research is that inorganic arsenicals regulate specific genes and, therefore, specific proteins. It is the activity of these proteins that is responsible for the toxic effects observed from low level chronic exposure. Two target tissues (kidney and skin) are being studied to demonstrate the uniformity or specificity of the signaling and gene responses to arsenic exposure. These investigations are utilizing only low level arsenic exposures. Once a specific protein involved in arsenic signal transduction is identified, the researchers determine how arsenic affects the activity of that protein and whether the activity of that protein correlates with cytotoxicity. The study of these two tissues will provide a further understanding of the importance of the arsenic-induced signaling processes and gene expression that are responsible for tissue injury.