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Arsenic Neurotoxicity in Humans

Division of Neurology, Respirology, Endocrinology and Metabolism; Department of Internal Medicine; Faculty of Medicine; University of Miyazaki, Miyazaki 889-1692, Japan
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(14), 3418; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20143418
Received: 11 June 2019 / Revised: 2 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 11 July 2019
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Abstract

Arsenic (As) contamination affects hundreds of millions of people globally. Although the number of patients with chronic As exposure is large, the symptoms and long-term clinical courses of the patients remain unclear. In addition to reviewing the literature on As contamination and toxicity, we provide useful clinical information on medical care for As-exposed patients. Further, As metabolite pathways, toxicity, speculated toxicity mechanisms, and clinical neurological symptoms are documented. Several mechanisms that seem to play key roles in As-induced neurotoxicity, including oxidative stress, apoptosis, thiamine deficiency, and decreased acetyl cholinesterase activity, are described. The observed neurotoxicity predominantly affects peripheral nerves in sensory fibers, with a lesser effect on motor fibers. A sural nerve biopsy showed the axonal degeneration of peripheral nerves mainly in small myelinated and unmyelinated fibers. Exposure to high concentrations of As causes severe central nervous system impairment in infants, but no or minimal impairment in adults. The exposure dose–response relationship was observed in various organs including neurological systems. The symptoms caused by heavy metal pollution (including As) are often nonspecific. Therefore, in order to recognize patients experiencing health problems caused by As, a multifaceted approach is needed, including not only clinicians, but also specialists from multiple fields. View Full-Text
Keywords: arsenic; neurotoxicity; Toroku; mechanism; oxidative stress; metabolite pathway arsenic; neurotoxicity; Toroku; mechanism; oxidative stress; metabolite pathway
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Mochizuki, H. Arsenic Neurotoxicity in Humans. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 3418.

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