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Curr Environ Health Rep. 2014 Mar 21;1:132-147. eCollection 2014.

The Effects of Arsenic Exposure on Neurological and Cognitive Dysfunction in Human and Rodent Studies: A Review.

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1
Department of Neuroscience, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM USA.

Abstract

Arsenic toxicity is a worldwide health concern as several millions of people are exposed to this toxicant via drinking water, and exposure affects almost every organ system in the body including the brain. Recent studies have shown that even low concentrations of arsenic impair neurological function, particularly in children. This review will focus on the current epidemiological evidence of arsenic neurotoxicity in children and adults, with emphasis on cognitive dysfunction, including learning and memory deficits and mood disorders. We provide a cohesive synthesis of the animal studies that have focused on neural mechanisms of dysfunction after arsenic exposure including altered epigenetics; hippocampal function; glucocorticoid and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) pathway signaling; glutamatergic, cholinergic and monoaminergic signaling; adult neurogenesis; and increased Alzheimer's-associated pathologies. Finally, we briefly discuss new studies focusing on therapeutic strategies to combat arsenic toxicity including the use of selenium and zinc.

KEYWORDS:

Adult; Alzheimer’s disease; Anxiety; Arsenate; Arsenic; Arsenite; Children; Cholinergic; Cognition; Cortisol; DNA methylation; Depression; Development; Epigenetics; Exposure; Glucocorticoid receptor; Glutamatergic; HPA; Histone modifications; IQ; Lead; Monoaminergic; Mood disorders; Neurogenesis; Neurological deficits; Neurotoxicity; Teratogen

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