Environmental arsenic exposure and sputum metalloproteinase concentrations

Arun B. Josyula, Gerald S. Poplin, Margaret Kurzius-Spencer, Hannah E. McClellen, Michael J. Kopplin, Stefan Stürup, R. Clark Lantz, Jefferey L. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Exposure to arsenic in drinking water is associated with an increased rate of lung cancer. The objective of this study was to determine whether arsenic exposure at relatively low concentrations (∼20 μg/L) is associated with changes in biomarkers of lung inflammation, as measured by the ratio of sputum metalloproteinase and antiproteinase activity. A total of 73 subjects residing in Ajo and Tucson, Arizona were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Tap water and first morning void urine were analyzed for arsenic. Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP-2), 9 (MMP-9) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (TIMP-1) were measured in induced sputum. Household tap water arsenic levels in Ajo (20.3±3.7 μg/L) were higher than in those Tucson (4.0±2.3 μg/L), as were mean urinary total inorganic arsenic levels (29.1±20.4 and 11.0±12.0 μg/L, respectively). Log-normalized MMP-2, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 concentrations in sputum were not significantly different between towns. However, after adjusting for town, asthma, diabetes, urinary monomethylarsonic acid/inorganic arsenic, and smoking history, total urinary arsenic was negatively associated with MMP-2 and TIMP-1 levels in sputum and positively associated with the ratio of MMP-2/TIMP-1 and MMP-9/TIMP-1 in sputum. Increased sputum proteinase/antiproteinase activity suggests a potential toxic mechanism for low-level arsenic exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Arsenic
  • Lung inflammation
  • MMP-9
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • TIMP-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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