Arsenic (As) induces DNA-damaging reactive oxygen species. Most oxidative DNA damage is countered by base excision repair (BER), the capacity for which may be reduced in older animals. We examined whether age and consumption of As in lactational milk or drinking water influences BER gene transcript levels in mice. Lactating mothers and 24-week-old mice were exposed (24 h or 2 weeks) to As (2 or 50 p.p.m.) in drinking water. Lung tissue was harvested from adults, neonates (initially 1 week old) feeding from lactating mothers and untreated animals 1– 26 weeks old. Transcripts encoding BER proteins were quantified. BER transcript levels decreased precipitously with age in untreated mice but increased in neonates whose mothers were exposed to 50 p.p.m. As for 24 h or 2 weeks. Treatment of 24-week-old mice with 2 or 50 p.p.m. As for 2 weeks decreased all transcript levels measured. Exposure to As attenuated the age-related transcript level decline for only one BER gene. We conclude that aging is associated with a rapid reduction of BER transcript levels in mice, which may contribute to decreased BER activity in older animals. Levels of As that can alter gene expression are transmitted to neonatal mice in lactational milk produced by mothers drinking water containing As, raising concerns about breastfeeding in countries having As-contaminated groundwater. Reduction of BER transcript levels in 24- week-old mice exposed to As for 2 weeks suggests As may potentiate sensitivity to itself in older animals.
Advance Access Publication 19 July 2010
Field of Research
060405 Gene Expression (incl Microarray and other genome-wide approaches)
Socio Economic Objective
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences