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Urinary Metabolomics Revealed Arsenic Internal Dose-Related Metabolic Alterations: A Proof-of-Concept Study in a Chinese Male Cohort

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      Urinary biomonitoring provides the most accurate arsenic exposure assessment; however, to improve the risk assessment, arsenic-related metabolic biomarkers are required to understand the internal processes that may be perturbed, which may, in turn, link the exposure to a specific health outcome. This study aimed to investigate arsenic-related urinary metabolome changes and identify dose-dependent metabolic biomarkers as a proof-of-concept of the information that could be obtained by combining metabolomics and targeted analyses. Urinary arsenic species such as inorganic arsenic, methylarsonic acid, dimethylarsinic acid and arsenobetaine were quantified using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry in a Chinese adult male cohort. Urinary metabolomics was conducted using HPLC-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Arsenic-related metabolic biomarkers were investigated by comparing the samples of the first and fifth quintiles of arsenic exposure classifications using a partial least-squares discriminant model. After the adjustments for age, body mass index, smoking, and alcohol consumption, five potential biomarkers related to arsenic exposure (i.e., testosterone, guanine, hippurate, acetyl- N-formyl-5-methoxykynurenamine, and serine) were identified from 61 candidate metabolites; these biomarkers suggested that endocrine disruption and oxidative stress were associated with urinary arsenic levels. Testosterone, guanine, and hippurate showed a high or moderate ability to discriminate the first and fifth quintiles of arsenic exposure with area-under-curve (AUC) values of 0.89, 0.87, and 0.83, respectively; their combination pattern showed an AUC value of 0.91 with a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 80%. Arsenic dose-dependent AUC value changes were also observed. This study demonstrated that metabolomics can be used to investigate arsenic-related biomarkers of metabolic changes; the dose-dependent trends of arsenic exposure to these biomarkers may translate into the potential use of metabolic biomarkers in arsenic risk assessment. Since this was a proof-of-concept study, more research is needed to confirm the relationships we observed between arsenic exposure and biochemical changes.

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          Melatonin has been shown to protect against oxidative stress in various, highly divergent experimental systems. There are many reasons for its remarkable protective potential. Signaling effects comprise the upregulation of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutases, peroxidases, and enzymes of glutathione supply, down-regulation of prooxidant enzymes, such as nitric oxide synthases and lipoxygenases, and presumably also the control of quinone reductase 2. Other mechanisms are based on direct interactions with several reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Among these reactions, the capacity of easily undergoing single-electron transfer reactions is of particular importance. Electron donation by melatonin is not only an aspect of direct radical scavenging, but additionally represents the basis for formation of the protective metabolites AFMK (N1-ace-tyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine) and AMK (N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine). Recent investigations on mitochondrial metabolism indicate that melatonin as well as AMK are capable of supporting the electron flux through the respiratory chain, of preventing the breakdown of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and of decreasing electron leakage, thereby reducing the formation of superoxide anions. Radical avoidance is a new line of investigation, which exceeds mitochondrial actions and also comprises antiexcitatory effects and contributions to the maintenance of internal circadian phase relationships.

            Author and article information

            []Key Lab of Urban Environment and Health, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences , 1799 Jimei Road, Xiamen, Fujian 350002, China
            []Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology, Nanjing Medical University , Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, China
            [§ ]Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University , Atlanta, Georgia 30322, United States
            Author notes
            [* ]Phone: (86)-592-6190997; fax: (86)-592-6190997; e-mail: hqshen@ .
            Environ Sci Technol
            Environ. Sci. Technol
            Environmental Science & Technology
            American Chemical Society
            18 September 2015
            18 September 2014
            21 October 2014
            : 48
            : 20
            : 12265-12274
            25233106 4204897 10.1021/es503659w
            Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

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            National Institutes of Health, United States
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            General environmental science


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