Is An Elevated Antinuclear Antibody Titer In Subjects Living In Two Groundwater Arsenic Contaminated Villages Indicative Of A Time-Dependent Effect Of Arsenic Exposure

Author(s): Anisur R.Khuda-Bukhsh, Philippe Belon, Surjyo Jyoti Biswas, Susanta Roy Karmakar, Pathikrit Banerjee, Antara Banerjee, Jayanta Kumar Das, Surajit Pathak, Sandipan Chaki Choudhury, Nandini Bhattacharjee, Bibhas Guha

The arsenic (As) contents of urine and blood and anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) titer in blood sera were determined in some 47 volunteers from Ghetugachhi and 83 from Dakshin Panchpota, two arsenic contaminated villages, and in 26 volunteers from a distant arsenic-free village, Padumbasan, in West Bengal. Hair and nail samples from some of them were also analyzed. While As content of urine, blood, hair and nail samples in control subjects from Padumbasan was in the non-detectable range and blood sera of all except one were ANA negative, many volunteers from the two arsenic contaminated villages had a high level of ‘As’ content in their urine, blood, hair and nail and were ANA positive. Many of the latter group had skin and digestive disorders. There was some positive correlation among arsenic content of blood, urine and hair. Although no clear-cut correlation between As content in different samples and ANA positivity could be substantiated, the high incidence of ANA could probably be due to long-term digestive disorders brought about by chronic arsenic intake. Test of ANA titers in arsenic risk zones may be useful as an additional parameter in risk assessment along with periodical monitoring of As in urine and nail samples.

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