Formation and Urinary Excretion of Arsenic Triglutathione and Methylarsenic Diglutathione

Subbarao V. Kala, Geeta Kala, Christopher I. Prater, Alan C. Sartorelli, Michael W. Lieberman

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84 Scopus citations


Taking advantage of mice deficient in γ-glutamyl transpeptidase that are unable to metabolize glutathione (GSH), we have identified two previously unrecognized urinary metabolites of arsenite: arsenic triglutathione and methylarsenic diglutathione. Following administration of sodium arsenite to these mice, ∼60-70% of urinary arsenic is present as one of these GSH conjugates. We did not detect the dimethyl derivative, dimethyl arsenic GSH; however, dimethyl arsenic (DMAv) represented approximately 30% of urinary arsenic. Administration of buthionine sulfoximine, an inhibitor of GSH synthesis, to wild-type mice reduced urinary arsenic excretion by more than 50%, indicating the GSH dependence of arsenic metabolism, transport, or both. Rodents deficient in three known ABC family transporters (MRP1, MRP2, and MDR1a/1b) exhibited urinary arsenic levels similar or greater than those in wild-type rodents; however, administration of MK571, an MRP inhibitor, reduced urinary arsenic excretion by almost 50%. MK571-treated mice showed ∼50% reduction of AsIII, MMAV, and AsV as compared to untreated wild-type controls, while DMAv levels were unchanged. These findings suggest that arsenic excretion is in part dependent on GSH and on an MRP transporter other than MRP1 or 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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