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J Toxicol. 2012;2012:302817. doi: 10.1155/2012/302817. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Function of serum complement in drinking water arsenic toxicity.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh.


Serum complement function was evaluated in 125 affected subjects suffering from drinking water arsenic toxicity. Their mean duration of exposure was 7.4 ± 5.3 yrs, and the levels of arsenic in drinking water and urine samples were 216 ± 211 and 223 ± 302 μg/L, respectively. The mean bactericidal activity of complement from the arsenic patients was 92% and that in the unexposed controls was 99% (P < 0.01), but heat-inactivated serum showed slightly elevated activity than in controls. In patients, the mean complement C3 was 1.56 g/L, and C4 was 0.29 g/L compared to 1.68 g/L and 0.25 g/L, respectively, in the controls. The mean IgG in the arsenic patients was 24.3 g/L that was highly significantly elevated (P < 0.001). Arsenic patients showed a significant direct correlation between C3 and bactericidal activity (P = 0.014). Elevated levels of C4 indicated underutilization and possibly impaired activity of the classical complement pathway. We conclude reduced function of serum complement in drinking water arsenic toxicity.

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