Background and purpose: The purpose of this case-cohort study was to examine urinary arsenic levels in relation to incident ischemic stroke in the United States.
Methods: We performed a case-cohort study nested within the REGARDS (REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) cohort. A subcohort (n=2486) of controls was randomly sampled within region-race-sex strata while all incident ischemic stroke cases from the full REGARDS cohort (n=671) were included. Baseline urinary arsenic was measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Arsenic species, including urinary inorganic arsenic and its metabolites monomethylarsonic acid and dimethylarsinic acid, were measured in a random subset (n=199). Weighted Cox's proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals of ischemic stroke by arsenic and its species.
Results: The average follow-up was 6.7 years. Although incident ischemic stroke showed no association with total arsenic or total inorganic arsenic, for each unit higher level of urinary monomethylarsonic acid on a log-scale, after adjustment for potential confounders, ischemic stroke risk increased ≈2-fold (hazard ratio=1.98; 95% confidence interval: 1.12-3.50). Effect modification by age, race, sex, or geographic region was not evident.
Conclusions: A metabolite of arsenic was positively associated with incident ischemic stroke in this case-cohort study of the US general population, a low-to-moderate exposure area. Overall, these findings suggest a potential role for arsenic methylation in the pathogenesis of stroke, having important implications for future cerebrovascular research.
Keywords: arsenic; environment exposures; minerals; monomethylarsonic acid; risk; stroke; trace elements.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.