Application of the in vivo oxidative stress reporter Hmox1 as mechanistic biomarker of arsenic toxicity

Francisco Inesta-Vaquera (Lead / Corresponding author), Panida Navasumrit, Colin J. Henderson, Tanya G. Frangova, Tadashi Honda, Albena T. Dinkova-Kostova, Mathuros Ruchirawat, C. Roland Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Inorganic arsenic (iAs) is a naturally occurring metalloid present in drinking water and polluted air exposing millions of people globally. Epidemiological studies have linked iAs exposure to the development of numerous diseases including cognitive impairment, cardiovascular failure and cancer. Despite intense research, an effective therapy for chronic arsenicosis has yet to be developed. Laboratory studies have been of great benefit in establishing the pathways involved in iAs toxicity and providing insights into its mechanism of action. However, the in vivo analysis of arsenic toxicity mechanisms has been difficult by the lack of reliable in vivo biomarkers of iAs's effects. To address this issue we have applied the use of our recently developed stress reporter models to study iAs toxicity. The reporter mice Hmox1 (oxidative stress/inflammation; HOTT) and p21 (DNA damage) were exposed to iAs at acute and chronic, environmentally relevant, doses. We observed induction of the oxidative stress reporters in several cell types and tissues, which was largely dependent on the activation of transcription factor NRF2. We propose that our HOTT reporter model can be used as a surrogate biomarker of iAs-induced oxidative stress, and it constitutes a first-in-class platform to develop treatments aimed to counteract the role of oxidative stress in arsenicosis. Indeed, in a proof of concept experiment, the HOTT reporter mice were able to predict the therapeutic utility of the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine in the prevention of iAs associated toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116053
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Early online date9 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • Arsenic toxicity
  • Oxidative stress
  • DNA damage
  • Hemeoxygenase 1
  • Reporter mice
  • Anti-oxidant response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of the in vivo oxidative stress reporter Hmox1 as mechanistic biomarker of arsenic toxicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this