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Environ Res. 2015 Jan;136:462-9. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.09.040. Epub 2014 Nov 25.

Arsenic exposure, telomere length, and expression of telomere-related genes among Bangladeshi individuals.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
2
UChicago Research Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
3
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
4
International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
5
University of North Carolina, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.
6
Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; Departments of Medicine and Human Genetics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
7
Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA; Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA. Electronic address: brandonpierce@uchicago.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen whose mode of action may involve telomere dysfunction. Recent epidemiological studies suggest that chronic arsenic exposure is associated with longer telomeres and altered expression of telomere-related genes in peripheral blood. In this study, we evaluated the association of urinary arsenic concentration with expression of telomere-related genes and telomere length in Bangladeshi individuals with a wide range of arsenic exposure through naturally contaminated drinking water.

METHODS:

We used linear regression models to estimate associations between urinary arsenic and array-based expression measures for 69 telomere related genes using mononuclear cell RNA samples from 1799 individuals. Association between arsenic exposure and a qPCR-based telomere length measure was assessed among 167 individuals.

RESULTS:

Urinary arsenic was positively associated with expression of WRN, and negatively associated with TERF2, DKC1, TERF2IP and OBFC1 (all P<0.00035, Bonferroni-corrected threshold). We detected interaction between urinary arsenic and arsenic metabolism efficiency in relation to expression of WRN (P for interaction =0.00008). In addition, we observed that very high arsenic exposure was associated with longer telomeres compared to very low exposure (P=0.02).

DISCUSSION:

Our findings suggest that arsenic's carcinogenic mode of action may involve alteration of telomere maintenance and/or telomere damage. This study extends our knowledge regarding the effect of arsenic on telomere length and expression of telomere-related genes.

PMID:
25460668
PMCID:
PMC4264833
DOI:
10.1016/j.envres.2014.09.040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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