Molecular Biology Reports

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 2371–2378 | Cite as

Arsenic-induced inflammation in workers

  • Lutfiye Tutkun
  • Meside Gunduzoz
  • Vugar Ali TurksoyEmail author
  • Serdar Deniz
  • Ozgur Oztan
  • Sultan Pınar Cetintepe
  • Servet Birgin Iritas
  • Fatma Meric Yilmaz
Original Article


Occupational and environmental exposures to metal and metalloids can result in neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity. Selenium (Se) is essential for the proper functioning of neutrophils, macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, T-lymphocytes and other immune mechanisms, while zinc (Zn) is a trace element essential for basic cell activities, including cell growth and differentiation. Arsenic (As) may lead to different types of immunosuppressive effects. This study consisted of 62 male workers, who had been exposed to arsenic for different durations and 73 non-exposed male workers (control group) with no history of occupational toxic metal exposure. Whole blood and serum samples were taken from each participant for immunological, toxicological and routine analysis during their annual periodical examination. Arsenic, selenium and zinc levels were determined by the ICP-MS and cytokines, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, sE-selectin and VCAM-1, were measured by ELISA. There were statistically significant differences (p < 0.001) between control and As-exposed group in As (1.37 ± 0.42 vs. 4.27 ± 1.54 µg/L) and Se levels (106.37 ± 48.04 vs. 74.70 ± 30.45 µg/L). The changing levels of As, Zn and Se seems to affect the severity of inflammatory reactions based on IL-6, IL-10 and TNF-α levels (r = 0.755, r = 0.679 and r = 0.617, respectively, for all p < 0.01). Selenium was found to have a suppressive effect on cytokines, as evidenced by Pearson correlations and regression analysis. These findings support the need to closely monitor Se levels in individuals exposed to arsenic and benefits for Se supplementation in the case of arsenic exposure, occupationally or environmentally.


Inflammation Cytokine levels Selenium Zinc 



This study was supported by Yozgat Bozok University Scientific Research Foundation (Decision No: 6602c-TF/17-96).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. The protocol of the study was approved by the local ethics committee.

Informed consent

All participants were volunteers who were informed of the study protocol and gave informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineYozgat BozokUniversityYozgatTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Family MedicineAnkara Occupational Diseases HospitalAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineYozgat Bozok UniversityYozgatTurkey
  4. 4.Provincial Health DirectorateMalatyaTurkey
  5. 5.Department of Medical ManagementHLC Medical CenterAnkaraTurkey
  6. 6.Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of MedicineHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  7. 7.The Council of Forensic MedicineMinistry of JusticeAnkaraTurkey
  8. 8.Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of MedicineAnkara Yildirim Beyazit UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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