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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2010 Nov 15;249(1):47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2010.08.013. Epub 2010 Aug 20.

Evaluation of the serum catalase and myeloperoxidase activities in chronic arsenic-exposed individuals and concomitant cytogenetic damage.

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Molecular and Human Genetics Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India.


Chronic arsenic exposure through contaminated drinking water is a major environmental health issue. Chronic arsenic exposure is known to exert its toxic effects by a variety of mechanisms, of which generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is one of the most important. A high level of ROS, in turn, leads to DNA damage that might ultimately culminate in cancer. In order to keep the level of ROS in balance, an array of enzymes is present, of which catalase (CAT) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) are important members. Hence, in this study, we determined the activities of these two enzymes in the sera and chromosomal aberrations (CA) in peripheral blood lymphocytes in individuals exposed and unexposed to arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic in drinking water and in urine was used as a measure of exposure. Our results show that individuals chronically exposed to arsenic have significantly higher CAT and MPO activities and higher incidence of CA. We found moderate positive correlations between CAT and MPO activities, induction of CA and arsenic in urine and water. These results indicate that chronic arsenic exposure causes higher CAT and MPO activities in serum that correlates with induction of genetic damage. We conclude that the serum levels of these enzymes might be used as biomarkers of early arsenic exposure induced disease much before the classical dermatological symptoms of arsenicosis begin to appear.

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