The enzyme arsenic (+3 oxidation state) methyltransferase (As3mt) catalyzes reactions converting inorganic arsenic to methylated metabolites, some of which are highly cytotoxic. In a previous study, female As3mt knockout (KO) mice treated with diet containing 100 or 150 ppm arsenic as arsenite showed systemic toxicity and significant effects on the urothelium. In the present study, we showed that the cytotoxic and proliferative effects of arsenite administration on the urothelium are dose dependent. Female wild-type C57BL/6 mice and As3mt KO mice were divided into five groups (n = 7) with free access to drinking water containing 0, 1, 10, 25, or 50 ppm arsenic as arsenite for 4 weeks. At sacrifice, urinary bladders of both As3mt KO and wild-type mice showed hyperplasia by light microscopy; however, the hyperplasia was more severe in the As3mt KO mice. Intracytoplasmic granules were detected in the urothelium of As3mt KO and wild-type mice at arsenic doses ≥ 10 ppm but were more numerous, more extensive, and larger in the KO mice. A no effect level for urothelial effects was identified at 1 ppm arsenic in the wild-type and As3mt KO mice. In As3mt KO mice, livers showed mild acute inflammation and kidneys showed hydronephrosis. The present study shows a dose-response for the effects of orally administered arsenite on the bladder urothelium of wildtype and As3mt KO mice, with greater effects in the KO strain but with a no effect level of 1 ppm for both.
- Arsenic methyltransferase
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