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  • Cellular retention, toxicity and carcinogenic potential of seafood arsenic. I. Lack of cytotoxicity and transforming activity of arsenobetaine in the BALB/3T3 cell line


Cytotoxicity, morphological neoplastic transformation, intracellular retention and metabolic behaviour have been investigated in BALB/3T3 Cl A 31-1-1 cells for arsenobetaine (the main form of arsenic in certain seafoods), in comparison with inorganic sodium arsenite. In order to avoid false results, particular attention was paid to the purity, by checking for the presence of any trace amounts of inorganic arsenic, as well as methylated contaminants in the chemically synthesised arsenobetaine. Cytotoxicity and morphological transformation assays gave obvious positive results for sodium arsenite at a dose exposure of 10 microM. In contrast, concentrations of arsenobetaine as high as 500 microM failed to induce either cytotoxic effects or neoplastic transformations. The absence of cytotoxicity and transforming potential of arsenobetaine in comparison with inorganic arsenite can be explained by the different degree of retention and the intracellular behaviour of the two arsenic species. The findings reinforce the view that, in humans exposed to different chemical species of arsenic, the contribution to the total health risk, including the carcinogenic potential, of arsenobetaine ingested with marine foodstuffs would be negligible.

Additional information

Authors: SABBIONI E, JRC Ispra (IT);FISCHBACH M, JRC Ispra (IT);POZZI G, JRC Ispra (IT);PIETRA R, JRC Ispra (IT);GALLORINI M, University of Pavia, CNR, Centre of Radiochemistry and Activation Analysis, Pavia (IT);PIETTE J L, Université de Liège au Sart Tilman, Chimie Organique de Synthèse, Liège (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Carcinogenesis, Vol. 12 (1991) No. 7, pp. 1287-1291
Record Number: 199111321 / Last updated on: 1994-12-02
Original language: en
Available languages: en