Glutathione-S-transferase-omega [MMA(V) reductase] knockout mice: enzyme and arsenic species concentrations in tissues after arsenate administration

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Nov 1;216(3):446-57. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2006.06.014. Epub 2006 Jul 7.


Inorganic arsenic is a human carcinogen to which millions of people are exposed via their naturally contaminated drinking water. Its molecular mechanisms of carcinogenicity have remained an enigma, perhaps because arsenate is biochemically transformed to at least five other arsenic-containing metabolites. In the biotransformation of inorganic arsenic, GSTO1 catalyzes the reduction of arsenate, MMA(V), and DMA(V) to the more toxic +3 arsenic species. MMA(V) reductase and human (hGSTO1-1) are identical proteins. The hypothesis that GST-Omega knockout mice biotransformed inorganic arsenic differently than wild-type mice has been tested. The livers of male knockout (KO) mice, in which 222 bp of Exon 3 of the GSTO1 gene were eliminated, were analyzed by PCR for mRNA. The level of transcripts of the GSTO1 gene in KO mice was 3.3-fold less than in DBA/1lacJ wild-type (WT) mice. The GSTO2 transcripts were about two-fold less in the KO mouse. When KO and WT mice were injected intramuscularly with Na arsenate (4.16 mg As/kg body weight); tissues removed at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 h after arsenate injection; and the arsenic species measured by HPLC-ICP-MS, the results indicated that the highest concentration of the recently discovered and very toxic MMA(III), a key biotransformant, was in the kidneys of both KO and WT mice. The highest concentration of DMA(III) was in the urinary bladder tissue for both the KO and WT mice. The MMA(V) reducing activity of the liver cytosol of KO mice was only 20% of that found in wild-type mice. There appears to be another enzyme(s) other than GST-O able to reduce arsenic(V) species but to a lesser extent. This and other studies suggest that each step of the biotransformation of inorganic arsenic has an alternative enzyme to biotransform the arsenic substrate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arsenates / pharmacokinetics*
  • Arsenic / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Exons / genetics
  • Glutathione Transferase / genetics*
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Arsenates
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Gsto1 protein, mouse
  • sodium arsenate
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Arsenic