Low-moderate urine arsenic and biomarkers of thrombosis and inflammation in the Strong Heart Study

PLoS One. 2017 Aug 3;12(8):e0182435. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182435. eCollection 2017.


The underlying pathology of arsenic-related cardiovascular disease (CVD) is unknown. Few studies have evaluated pathways through thrombosis and inflammation for arsenic-related CVD, especially at low-moderate arsenic exposure levels (<100 μg/L in drinking water). We evaluated the association of chronic low-moderate arsenic exposure, measured as the sum of inorganic and methylated arsenic species in urine (ΣAs), with plasma biomarkers of thrombosis and inflammation in American Indian adults (45-74 years) in the Strong Heart Study. We evaluated the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between baseline ΣAs with fibrinogen at three visits (baseline, 1989-91; Visit 2, 1993-95, Visit 3, 1998-99) using mixed models and the associations between baseline ΣAs and Visit 2 plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) using linear regression. Median (interquartile range) concentrations of baseline ΣAs and fibrinogen, and Visit 2 hsCRP and PAI-1 were 8.4 (5.1, 14.3) μg/g creatinine, 346 (304, 393) mg/dL, 44 (30, 67) mg/L, and 3.8 (2.0, 7.0) ng/mL, respectively. Comparing the difference between the 75th and the 25th percentile of ΣAs (14.3 vs. 5.1 μg/g creatinine), ΣAs was positively associated with baseline fibrinogen among those with diabetes (adjusted geometric mean ratio (GMR): 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.07) not associated among those without diabetes (GMR: 1.01, 95% CI: 0.99, 1.02) (p-interaction for diabetes = 0.014), inversely associated with PAI-1 (GMR: 0.94, 95% CI: 0.90, 0.99), and not associated with hsCRP (GMR: 1.00, 95% CI: 0.93, 1.08). We found no evidence for an association between baseline ΣAs and annual change in fibrinogen over follow-up (p-interaction = 0.28 and 0.12 for diabetes and non-diabetes, respectively). Low-moderate arsenic exposure was positively associated with baseline fibrinogen in participants with diabetes and unexpectedly inversely associated with PAI-1. Further research should evaluate the role of prothrombotic factors in arsenic-related cardiovascular disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arsenic / urine*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Thrombosis / diagnosis*
  • Thrombosis / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Arsenic