Science of Toxicity

Syst Biol Reprod Med. 2018 Jun 6:1-15. doi: 10.1080/19396368.2018.1480076.

Impact of prenatal arsenic exposure on chronic adult diseases.

Young JL1Cai L2States JC1.

Author information


Exposure to environmental stressors during susceptible windows of development can result in negative health outcomes later in life, a concept known as the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). There is a growing body of evidence that exposures to metalsearly in life (in utero and postnatal) increase the risk of developing adult diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and diabetes. Of particular concern is exposure to the metalloid arsenic, a drinking water contaminant and worldwide health concern. Epidemiological studies of areas with high levels of arsenic in the drinking water, such as some regions in Chile and Bangladesh, indicate an association between in utero arsenic exposure and the development of adult diseases. Therefore, the need for experimental models to address the mechanism underlining early onset of adult diseases have emerged including the in utero and whole-life exposure models. This review will highlight the epidemiological events and subsequent novel experimental models implemented to study the impact of early life exposure to arsenic on the development of adult diseases. In addition, current research using these models will be discussed as well as possible underlying mechanism for the early onset of disease.


ALT: alanine aminotransferase; AMI: acute myocardial infarction; AST: aspartate aminotransferase; ATSDR: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry; CVD: cardiovascular disease; DMA: dimethylarsinate; DOHaD: Developmental Origins of Health and Disease; EPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; ER-α: estrogen receptor alpha; HDL: high-density lipoprotein; HOMA-IR: homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance; iAs: inorganic arsenic; LDL: low-density lipoprotein; MetS: metabolic syndrome; MMA: monomethylarsonate; NAFLD: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; PND: postnatal day; ppb: parts per billion; ppm: parts per million; SAM: S-adenosylmethionine; USFDA: United States Food and Drug Administration.


Arsenic; cancer; cardiovascular disease; chronic adult disease; prenatal exposure




Toxics. 2018 Jun 8;6(2). pii: E31. doi: 10.3390/toxics6020031.

Harmful Elements (Al, Cd, Cr, Ni, and Pb) in Wild Berries and Fruits Collected in Croatia.

Zeiner M1,2Juranović Cindrić I3.

Author information


Fruits and vegetables are considered a beneficial contribution to the human diet. Especially, berries contain a great deal of bioactive compounds, such as anthocyanins, organic acids, tannins, phenols, and antioxidants. Apart from organic substances, inorganic nutrients are also present in fruits. Some metals and metalloids are essential for humans, whilst others may exhibit harmful effects. Wild grown berries, collected in so-called unpolluted areas, are considered to be free of any potentially toxic ingredients. However, due to transmission processes pollutants can also reach remote areas and, furthermore, metal uptake from the soil via roots has to be taken into account. Thus, the presented study focused on the determination of Al, Cd, Cr, Ni, and Pb in lingonberries, blueberries, and rose hips collected in a non-polluted area in Croatia. Neither Cd nor Cr could be found in any sample. Ni levels were mainly up to 25 mg/kg, in a comparable range to the literature data. No health threat is to be expected by eating these fruits and berries regarding Cd, Cr, and Ni. Rose hips, however, contain Pb beyond the stipulated limit in fruits, and also Al is present at a high level (8 mg/g).


aluminium; blueberries; cadmium; chromium; lead; lingonberries; nickel; provisional tolerable intake; rose hips

PMID: 29890701


DOI: 10.3390/toxics6020031


Toxics. 2018 Jul 6;6(3). pii: E35. doi: 10.3390/toxics6030035.

Expression of Genes Involved in Stress, Toxicity, Inflammation, and Autoimmunity in Relation to Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead in Human Blood: A Pilot Study.

Monastero RN1,2Vacchi-Suzzi C3,4Marsit C5Demple B6,7Meliker JR8,9.

Author information


There is growing evidence of immunotoxicity related to exposure to toxic trace metals, and an examination of gene expression patterns in peripheral blood samples may provide insights into the potential development of these outcomes. This pilot study aimed to correlate the blood levels of three heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, and lead) with differences in gene expression in 24 participants from the Long Island Study of Seafood Consumption. We measured the peripheral blood mRNA expression of 98 genes that are implicated in stress, toxicity, inflammation, and autoimmunity. We fit multiple linear regression models with multiple testing correction to correlate exposure biomarkers with mRNA abundance. The mean blood Hg in this cohort was 16.1 µg/L, which was nearly three times the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reference dose (5.8 µg/L). The levels of the other metals were consistent with those in the general population: the mean Pb was 26.8 µg/L, and the mean Cd was 0.43 µg/L. The expression of three genes was associated with mercury, four were associated with cadmium, and five were associated with lead, although none were significant after multiple testing correction. Little evidence was found to associate metal exposure with mRNA abundance for the tested genes that were associated with stress, toxicity, inflammation, or autoimmunity. Future work should provide a more complete picture of physiological reactions to heavy metal exposure.


Cd; Fish; Hg; Pb; mRNA


DOI: 10.3390/toxics6030035


Food Chem Toxicol. 2018 May 18;118:348-354. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2018.05.041. [Epub ahead of print]

Metal concentrations in fillet and gill of parrotfish (Scarus ghobban) from the Persian Gulf and implications for human health.

Fakhri Y1Saha N2Miri A3Baghaei M4Roomiani L5Ghaderpoori M6Taghavi M7Keramati H8Bahmani Z9Moradi B10Bay A11Pouya RH12.

Author information


Despite the benefits of seafood’s consumption, the bioaccumulation of metals in fish can endanger consumers’ health. This study analyzed lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), Arsenic (As), and Cadmium (Cd) concentrations in fillet and gill of parrotfish (Scarus ghobban) using flame atomic adsorption spectroscopy (FAAS). The potential non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic health risks due to consumption of Scarus ghobban fillet were assessed by estimating average target hazard quotient (THQ) and total target hazard quotient (TTHQ) and Incremental Lifetime Cancer Risk cancer risk (ILCR) of the analyzed metals. This study indicated that Cd, Pb, As and Hg concentrations were significantly (p < 0.05) lower than Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and national standard limits. The meal concentrations (μg/kg dry weight) in both fillet and gill were ranked as follows Pb > Cd > As > Hg. THQ and TTHQ were lower than 1 for adults and children, indicating that consumers were not at considerable non-carcinogenic risk. However, ILCR value for As was greater than 10-4, indicating that consumers are at carcinogenic risk. Overall, this research highlighted that although the consumption of parrotfish from the Persian Gulf does not pose non-carcinogenic health risks, carcinogenic risks derived from toxic As can be detrimental for local consumers.


Food safety; Health risk; Heavy metals; Parrotfish; Persian gulf; Seafood




Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2018 Jun 20;20(6):892-912. doi: 10.1039/c8em00069g.

Trace metals in oysters: molecular and cellular mechanisms and ecotoxicological impacts.

Wang WX 1Meng J Weng N .

Author information


Marine Environmental Laboratory, HKUST Shenzhen Research Institute, Shenzhen 518057, China.


Oysters are important benthic bivalves in coastal and estuarine environments. They are widely farmed due to their rapid growth and taste; they are also widely applied in environmental monitoring of coastal pollution due to their accumulation of contaminants. Most importantly, oysters are among the few marine organisms that are considered to be hyper-accumulators of many toxic metals, such as cadmium, copper and zinc. As such, there is a tremendous call to study the interactions between metals and oysters, especially due to the increasing metal pollution in many coastal and estuarine waters. Over the past decades, many studies have focused on metal accumulation in oysters as well as the ecotoxicological effects of metals on oysters. In this review, we summarize the recent progress in our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of metal accumulation, sequestration and toxicity in oysters. Applications of modern technologies such as omics and nanoscale imaging have added significantly to our knowledge of metal biology in oysters. Variations between different metals also demonstrate the diversity of the interactions between oysters and metals. Despite this recent progress, however, there is a need for further study of the molecular mechanisms of metal uptake and toxicity as well as the joint effects of metal mixtures on oyster populations. Oysters have higher numbers of stress responsive genes than most animals, which may have been induced by gene duplication during the evolution of their intertidal environmental adaptations. The divergent expression of stress responsive genes may explain the different tolerances for metals among different species. These fundamental studies may eventually provide promising solutions for reducing toxic metal concentrations in oysters for safe consumption by humans. To conclude, the complexity of life history and metal chemistry of oysters coupled with emerging pollution and application of modern techniques represents an important and exciting research area in modern ecotoxicology.

PMID: 29774338

DOI: 10.1039/c8em00069g


Bioresour Technol. 2018 Apr 26;263:49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2018.04.101.

Comparative uptake study of arsenic, boron, copper, manganese and zinc from water by different green microalgae.

Saavedra R1Muñoz R2Taboada ME3Vega M4Bolado S5.

Author information


This work represents a comparative uptake study of the toxic elements arsenic, boron, copper, manganese and zinc in monometallic and multimetallic solutions by four green microalgae species (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus almeriensis and an indigenous Chlorophyceae spp.), evaluating the effect of pH and contact time. Maximum removal efficiencies for each toxic element were 99.4% for Mn (C. vulgaris, pH 7.0, 3 h), 91.9% for Zn (Chlorophyceae spp., pH 5.5, 3 h), 88% for Cu (Chlorophyceae spp., pH 7.0, 10 min), 40.7% for As (S. almeriensis, pH 9.5, 3 h) and 38.6% for B (S. almeriensis, pH 5.5, 10 min). B removal efficiencies decreased remarkably in multimetallic solutions (down to 0.2% in C. reinhardtii), except for Chlorophyceae spp., the only species isolated from a polluted environment. FTIR spectra shown the highest interactions for As (1150-1300 cm-1) and Cu (3300, 1741, 1535, 1350-1400 cm-1). Results confirm microalgae biomass as a potential biosorbent for toxic elements.


Adsorption; Bioremediation; Heavy metals; Microalgae; Toxic elements

PMID: 29729541

DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2018.04.101


Distribution, relationship, and risk assessment of toxic heavy metals in walnuts and growth soil.

Han Y1Ni Z1Li S1Qu M1Tang F1Mo R1Ye C1Liu Y2.

Author information


Walnut is one of the most popular nuts worldwide and contains various mineral nutrients. Little is known, however, about the relationship between toxic heavy metals in walnuts and growth soil. In this study, we investigated the distribution, relationship, and risk assessment of five toxic heavy metals-lead (Pb), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), and mercury (Hg)-in walnuts and growth soil in the main production areas of China. The results showed that the main heavy metal pollution in walnut and soil was Pb and Cd. Regionally, positive relationships existed between heavy metals and the pH and organic matter of soil. In addition, we observed a notable uptake effect between walnut and growth soil. In this study, we found a significant correlation (r = 0.786, P < 0.05) between the bioconcentration factors and the longitude of the sampling areas. The risks (total hazard quotients) of five heavy metals toward children and adults by dietary walnut consumption were 46.8 and 56.2%, respectively. The ability to identify toxic heavy metal pollution in walnuts and growth soil could be helpful to screen suitable planting sites to prevent and control heavy metal pollution and improve the quality and safety of walnut.


Health assessment; Heavy metal; Relationship; Soil; Walnut

PMID: 29656354



Toxics. 2018 Apr 3;6(2). pii: E22. doi: 10.3390/toxics6020022.

Estimated Dietary Intake of Trace Metals from Swordfish Consumption: A Human Health Problem.

Barone G1Dambrosio A2Storelli A3Garofalo R4Busco VP5Storelli MM6.

Author information


Trace element (Hg, Pb, Cd, Zn, Cu, Ni, and Cr) occurrence was determined in the muscle tissue of swordfish collected in the Mediterranean Sea to assess whether the intakes complied with the recommended levels for essential metals and permissible levels for toxic elements. Metals were analyzed by an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Shimadzu AA 7000). The methodology of Target Hazard Quotient (THQ) was also evaluated. The ranking order of toxic metal concentration was Hg > Cd > Pb, while for essential elements the distribution pattern followed the sequence Zn > Cu > Ni > Cr. The Estimated Weekly Intakes (EWI) as well as THQ for Cd and Pb indicated that swordfish consumption did not pose a risk to human health, whereas the major concern was for Hg. Fish size-related changes in Hg concentrations resulted in high EWI and THQ values relative to larger fish consumption, implying a potential risk to human health. For consumer protection, catches of swordfish approximately above 44 kg should be avoided as these fish have a higher risk of containing toxic levels of Hg.


PTWI; THQ; health risk; heavy metals; swordfish


PMCID: PMC6027446