Nygerma L Dangleben 1, Christine F Skibola, Martyn T Smith
- PMID: 24004508
- PMCID: PMC3848751
- DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-12-73
Free PMC article
Exposure to arsenic (As) is a global public health problem because of its association with various cancers and numerous other pathological effects, and millions of people worldwide are exposed to As on a regular basis. Increasing lines of evidence indicate that As may adversely affect the immune system, but its specific effects on immune function are poorly understood. Therefore, we conducted a literature search of non-cancer immune-related effects associated with As exposure and summarized the known immunotoxicological effects of As in humans, animals and in vitro models. Overall, the data show that chronic exposure to As has the potential to impair vital immune responses which could lead to increased risk of infections and chronic diseases, including various cancers. Although animal and in vitro models provide some insight into potential mechanisms of the As-related immunotoxicity observed in human populations, further investigation, particularly in humans, is needed to better understand the relationship between As exposure and the development of disease.