Most Americans living in rural areas use groundwater for drinking. Exposure to low-level (around the current U.S. standard 10 μg/L) arsenic in drinking water is associated with increased mortality of cardiovascular diseases. The current study was to determine if coronary heart disease, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia were associated with low-level arsenic exposure and AS3MT gene single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) A35991G (rs10748835) in rural Texas. Subjects (156 men, 343 women, 40-96 years of age with a mean of 61) were residents from rural counties Cochran, Palmer, and Bailey, Texas. Groundwater arsenic concentration at each subject's home was estimated with ArcGIS inverse distance weighted interpolation based on the residential location's distances to surrounding wells with known water arsenic concentrations. The estimated groundwater arsenic concentration ranged from 2.2 to 15.3 (mean 6.2) μg/L in this cohort. Logistic regression analysis showed that coronary heart disease was associated with higher arsenic exposure (p<0.05) and with AS3MT genotype GG vs. AA (p<0.05) after adjustments for age, ethnicity, gender, education, smoking status, alcoholism, and anti-hyperlipidemia medication. Hypertension was associated with higher arsenic exposure, while hyperlipidemia was associated with genotype AG vs. AA of the AS3MT gene (p<0.05). Thus, coronary heart disease and its main risk factors were associated with low-level arsenic exposure, AS3MT polymorphism or both.
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