Effects of co-administration of antioxidants and arsenicals on the rat urinary bladder epithelium

Min Wei, Lora Arnold, Martin Cano, Samuel M. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress has been increasingly recognized as a possible mechanism in the toxicity and carcinogenicity of various chemicals, including arsenic. Therefore, treatment with antioxidants may afford a protective effect against arsenic-induced cytotoxicity and carcinogenesis. Dimethylarsinic acid (DMAV) has been shown to be a bladder carcinogen in rats when administered at high doses (100 ppm in the diet or in the drinking water. The main purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of co-administration of antioxidants with arsenicals on the rat urinary bladder epithelium in vitro and in vivo. In a previous experiment, treatment with 1000 ppm melatonin for two weeks did not inhibit cell proliferation induced in the rat urothelium by 100 ppm DMAV. In the current study, we examined the effects of five antioxidants that act via different mechanisms, on the in vitro cytotoxicity of various arsenicals, for the purpose of determining which antioxidants might have protective effects against arsenic-induced cytotoxicity. The antioxidants that inhibited cytotoxicity in vitro were then studied also in vivo. Melatonin showed slight inhibition of the cytotoxicity of arsenite, but had no effect on the other arsenicals. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) inhibited the cytotoxicity of monomethylarsonous acid (MMAIII), DMAV, dimethylarsinous acid (DMAIII), and trimethylarsine oxide (TMAO). Vitamin C inhibited cytotoxicity induced by arsenate, arsenite, MMAIII, and DMAIII. Tiron and Trolox had no effect on the cytotoxicity of any arsenical. The in vitro inhibitory effects of NAC and vitamin C on DMAV and on DMAIII, suggested that these antioxidants might afford preventive effects on DMAV-induced bladder cytotoxicity and carcinogenesis in rats. To test this hypothesis, a 10-week rat bioassay was conducted. Melatonin was also included to clarify the results of the previous two-week experiment. The sodium salt of vitamin C (Na-Asc), but not melatonin or NAC, inhibited the proliferative effects of DMAV on the bladder epithelium in rats. These results suggest that oxidative stress is at least in part involved in DMAV-induced rat bladder toxicity and proliferation, and therefore, vitamin C may afford inhibitory effects in DMAV-induced bladder carcinogenesis in rats. Microarray analysis of DMAV-responsive genes revealed that DMAV did not have a consistent modifying effect on gene expression in the rat bladder epithelium, suggesting that proteins and/or lipids may be the targets of damage by DMAV-induced oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Antioxidants
  • Arsenicals
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Dimethylarsinic acid
  • Rat urinary bladder epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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