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Sci Total Environ. 2012 Jan 1;414:152-8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.10.023. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

The relationship between obesity, insulin and arsenic methylation capability in Taiwan adolescents.

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Department of Family Medicine, Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



This study evaluated the arsenic methylation profile of adolescents and explored the influence of body mass index (BMI) on the arsenic methylation profile of adolescents in an area of Taiwan with no-obvious arsenic exposure.


This study evaluated 202 normal weight students and 101 obese students from eight elementary schools, recruited from September 2009 to December 2009. Concentrations of urinary arsenic species, including inorganic arsenic, monomethylarsonic acid (MMA(5+)) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA(5+)) were determined by a high-performance liquid chromatography-linked hydride generator and atomic absorption spectrometry.


Urinary total arsenic was significantly decreased with increasing BMI, indicating that obese children may retain higher levels of arsenic in the body, as compared to normal weight children. Participants with obesity accompanied by high insulin levels had higher inorganic arsenic, significantly higher MMA percentage and significantly lower DMA percentage than those with obesity and low insulin levels. It seems children with obesity and high insulin levels had lower arsenic methylation capacity than those with obesity and low insulin.


This is the first study to demonstrate that total urinary arsenic is negatively associated with the BMI in adolescents in Taiwan, adjusted for age and sex. Obese adolescents with high insulin levels had significantly higher MMA% and significantly lower DMA% than obese adolescents with low insulin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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