Send to

Choose Destination
Toxicol Lett. 2000 Mar 15;112-113:209-17.

Genetic polymorphism in the biotransformation of inorganic arsenic and its role in toxicity.

Author information

Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, 17177, Stockholm, Sweden.


Arsenic is a recognized human carcinogen, but experimental cancer studies are negative. There is a variation in susceptibility among individuals, which probably is related to variation in metabolism. Inorganic arsenic is methylated to methylarsonic acid (MMA) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), which are less toxic and more readily excreted in urine than the inorganic arsenic. The rate of methylation of arsenic varies considerably between species. Most population groups studied so far have on average 10-30% inorganic, 10-20% MMA, and 60-70% DMA in urine, but there is a considerable inter-individual variation. Also, recent studies have identified groups with unusually low or high urinary excretion of MMA. Thus, there seems to be a genetic polymorphism in the biomethylation of arsenic. However, the methyltransferases involved in arsenic methylation have not been characterized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center