Arsenic Exposure and Calpain-10 Polymorphisms Impair the Function of Pancreatic Beta-Cells in Humans: A Pilot Study of Risk Factors for T2DM

Andrea Díaz-Villaseñor, Laura Cruz, Arturo Cebrián, Raúl U. Hernández-Ramírez, Marcia Hiriart, Gonzálo García-Vargas, Susana Bassol, Monserrat Sordo, A. Jay Gandolfi, Walter T. Klimecki, Lizbeth López-Carillo, Mariano E. Cebrián, Patricia Ostrosky-Wegman

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32 Scopus citations


The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing worldwide and diverse environmental and genetic risk factors are well recognized. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the calpain-10 gene (CAPN-10), which encodes a protein involved in the secretion and action of insulin, and chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs) through drinking water have been independently associated with an increase in the risk for T2DM. In the present work we evaluated if CAPN-10 SNPs and iAs exposure jointly contribute to the outcome of T2DM. Insulin secretion (beta-cell function) and insulin sensitivity were evaluated indirectly through validated indexes (HOMA2) in subjects with and without T2DM who have been exposed to a gradient of iAs in their drinking water in northern Mexico. The results were analyzed taking into account the presence of the risk factor SNPs SNP-43 and -44 in CAPN-10. Subjects with T2DM had significantly lower beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity. An inverse association was found between beta-cell function and iAs exposure, the association being more pronounced in subjects with T2DM. Subjects without T2DM who were carriers of the at-risk genotype SNP-43 or -44, also had significantly lower beta-cell function. The association of SNP-43 with beta-cell function was dependent on iAs exposure, age, gender and BMI, whereas the association with SNP-44 was independent of all of these factors. Chronic exposure to iAs seems to be a risk factor for T2DM in humans through the reduction of beta-cell function, with an enhanced effect seen in the presence of the at-risk genotype of SNP-43 in CAPN-10. Carriers of CAPN-10 SNP-44 have also shown reduced beta-cell function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51642
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 29 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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