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Chem Biol Interact. 1997 Nov 28;107(3):131-44.

Arsenic and antimony: comparative approach on mechanistic toxicology.

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Medical Institute of General Hygiene and Environmental Health, University of Goettingen, Germany.


A chemico-toxicological similarity between arsenic and antimony exists and their toxicology is often seen. Indeed, both elements possess several common properties, e.g. they are clastogenic but not mutagenic in the trivalent state and they have a carcinogenic potential: trivalent arsenicals are known to be human carcinogens and antimony(III) oxide (by inhalation) has been shown to cause lung cancer in female rats. For years, arsenic has been known to be environmentally toxic. Elevated human exposure to this element, mostly caused by the intake of contaminated tap water, is associated with increased incidences of cancer at various sites. It is still not clear how arsenic compounds exert their genotoxic effect. It may be connected with an inhibition of DNA repair or the induction of oxidative stress. Little work has been done on the toxicology of antimony as it is less widely present in the environment. There is evidence that in mammals antimony, unlike arsenic, is not detoxified via methylation but it still remains unclear what mechanism is responsible for antimony's genotoxicity. In general, there is little information known about this element to accurately determine its impact on human health. Thus, the aim of this paper is to review current knowledge for future risk assessment and further scientific work.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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