Nutritional Influences on One-Carbon Metabolism: Effects on Arsenic Methylation and Toxicity

Bozack, Anne K.; Saxena, Roheeni; Gamble, Mary

Exposure to inorganic arsenic (InAs) via drinking water and/or food is a considerable worldwide problem. Methylation of InAs generates monomethyl (MMAsIII+V)- and dimethyl (DMAsIII+V)-arsenical species in a process that facilitates urinary As elimination; however, MMAs is considerably more toxic than either InAs or DMAs. Emerging evidence suggests that incomplete methylation of As to DMAs, resulting in increased MMAs, is associated with increased risk for a host of As-related health outcomes. The biochemical pathway that provides methyl groups for As methylation, one-carbon metabolism (OCM), is influenced by folate and other micronutrients, including choline and betaine. Individuals and species differ widely in their ability to methylate As. A growing body of research, including cell-culture, animal-model, and epidemiological studies, has demonstrated the role of OCM-related micronutrients in As methylation. This review examines the evidence that nutritional status and nutritional interventions can influence the metabolism and toxicity of As, with a primary focus on folate.


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Also Published In

Annual Review of Nutrition

More About This Work

Academic Units
Environmental Health Sciences
Published Here
October 10, 2018