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Hum Hered. 1991;41(1):71-3.

Is the genotoxic effect of arsenic mediated by oxygen free radicals?

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  • 1Department of Medical Genetics, University of UmeĆ„, Sweden.


Previous investigations have shown that trivalent arsenic is inducing chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs). In a search for the genotoxic mechanism we have studied the effects of the oxygen-radical-scavenging enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) on arsenic-induced SCEs in cultured human lymphocytes. The results indicate that SOD and possibly also CAT have a protective effect against arsenic-induced DNA damage. Arsenic, which is emitted in environmental pollutions e.g. from smelters and coal-fired power plants, appears to be underestimated as environmental mutagen and potential synergist to ionizing radiation.

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