Concentration- and time-dependent genomic changes in the mouse urinary bladder following exposure to arsenate in drinking water for up to 12 weeks

Toxicol Sci. 2011 Oct;123(2):421-32. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfr199. Epub 2011 Jul 27.


Inorganic arsenic (As(i)) is a known human bladder carcinogen. The objective of this study was to examine the concentration dependence of the genomic response to As(i) in the urinary bladders of mice. C57BL/6J mice were exposed for 1 or 12 weeks to arsenate in drinking water at concentrations of 0.5, 2, 10, and 50 mg As/l. Urinary bladders were analyzed using gene expression microarrays. A consistent reversal was observed in the direction of gene expression change: from predominantly decreased expression at 1 week to predominantly increased expression at 12 weeks. These results are consistent with evidence from in vitro studies of an acute adaptive response that is suppressed on longer exposure due to downregulation of Fos. Pathways with the highest enrichment in gene expression changes were associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, inflammation, and proliferation. Benchmark dose (BMD) analysis determined that the lowest median BMD values for pathways were above 5 mg As/l, despite the fact that pathway enrichment was observed at the 0.5 mg As/l exposure concentration. This disparity may result from the nonmonotonic nature of the concentration-responses for the expression changes of a number of genes, as evidenced by the much fewer gene expression changes at 2 mg As/l compared with lower or higher concentrations. Pathway categories with concentration-related gene expression changes included cellular morphogenesis, inflammation, apoptosis/survival, cell cycle control, and DNA damage response. The results of this study provide evidence of a concentration-dependent transition in the mode of action for the subchronic effects of As(i) in mouse bladder cells in the vicinity of 2 mg As(i)/l.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arsenates / toxicity*
  • Benchmarking
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drinking
  • Epithelium / drug effects*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Bladder / drug effects*
  • Urinary Bladder / metabolism
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology
  • Water Supply


  • Arsenates
  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • sodium arsenate