Genotoxicity in humans exposed to arsenic, lithium, and boron in drinking water in the Bolivian Andes—A cross sectional study

Noemi Tirado, Josué Mamani, Jessica De Loma, Franz Ascui, Karin Broberg, Jacques Gardon

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Elevated concentrations of arsenic, lithium and boron in drinking water have already been reported in Bolivia. Arsenic is known to cause genotoxicity but that caused by lithium and boron is less well known. The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to evaluate potential genotoxic effects of exposure to arsenic, while considering exposure to lithium and boron and genetic susceptibility. Women (n = 230) were recruited in villages located around Lake Poopó. Exposure to arsenic was determined as the sum of concentrations of arsenic metabolites inorganic arsenic, monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) in urine. Exposure to lithium and boron was determined based on their concentrations in urine. Genetic susceptibility was determined by GSTM1 (glutathione S-transferase-mu-1) and GSTT1 (glutathione S-transferase-theta-1) null genotypes and AS3MT (Arsenite Methyltransferase) rs3740393. Genotoxicity was measured in peripheral blood leukocytes using the comet assay. The geometric means of arsenic, lithium, and boron concentrations were 68, 897, and 3972 μg/L, respectively. GSTM1 and GSTT1 null carriers had more DNA strand breaks than gene carriers (p =.008, p =.005). We found no correlation between urinary arsenic and DNA strand breaks (rS =.03, p =.64), and only a weak non-significant positive association in the adjusted multivariate analysis (β =.09 [−.03;.22], p =.14). Surprisingly, increasing concentrations of lithium in urine were negatively correlated with DNA strand breaks (rS = −.24, p =.0006), and the association persisted in multivariate analysis after adjusting for arsenic (β = −.22 [−.36; −.08], p =.003). We found no association between boron and DNA strand breaks. The apparent protective effect of lithium merits further investigation.

Idioma originalInglés
PublicaciónEnvironmental and Molecular Mutagenesis
EstadoAceptada/en prensa - 2024

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© 2024 The Authors. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society.

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