Biotic and Abiotic Transformation of Organo-Arsenic Compounds

Brian P. Jackson, Ph.D.
Bruce A. Stanton, Ph.D.

Exposure to high levels of organic arsenic compounds can come from seafood consumption. While arsenobetaine, the most prevalent form of arsenic in fish, is non-toxic and not metabolized by humans, significant amounts of other organic arsenic compounds, including arsenosugars and arsenolipids, can also be present in seafood. Both arsenosugars and arsenolipids are broken down during metabolism, and one of their metabolites (thio-dimethyl arsenic), as well as some arsenolipid compounds (arsenic-containing hydrocarbons) have been found to be toxic in cell assays, demonstrating an urgent need to better understand the exposure and effects of these compounds. In this pilot project, we are laying the framework for characterizing and quantifying these compounds, and using innovative in vitro cell assay techniques to examine their rate of uptake and metabolic pathway, and their effects on immune cells.