ABSTRACT: The pulmonary toxicity of a substance depends on a number of chemical and physical characteristics, including the solubility of the compounds. In the lung, insoluble forms of metals may be more tumorigenic than soluble forms despite the fact that this effect has not been quantitated and the mechanism of action has not been elucidated. The toxic effects of slightly soluble forms of As(III) and As(V) were evaluated by determining alteration in function of pulmonary alveolar macrophages (PAM) following in vivo and in vitro exposure. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used throughout. Twenty-four hours following intratracheal instillation of 1 mg/kg (as arsenic) of either arsenic trisulfide (As(III)) or calcium arsenate (As(V)), PAM were lavaged and analyzed for alterations in superoxide (O2-), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) production. There were no differences in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid TNF-alpha. PAM lavaged from As(V)-exposed animals showed significant increases in O2- production and in basal release of TNF-alpha. PAM lavaged from animals receiving As(III) did not show significant alterations. To test the direct effects of arsenic, PAM were lavaged from control animals and exposed to concentrations of 0.1 to 300 micrograms/ml arsenic in vitro for up to 24 hr. Doses used were not cytotoxic to PAM, since LDH release was not significantly increased. Significant dose-dependent inhibition of O2- production was only evident after 24 hr exposure to arsenicals. Both As(III) and As(V) produced inhibition at concentrations of 10 micrograms/ml. Suppression of LPS-induced release of TNF-alpha also occurred at similar concentrations for both arsenicals (4-5 micrograms/ml). Neither arsenical inhibited prostaglandin E2 production. Measurement of soluble arsenic concentrations indicated dissolution of the compounds could not account for all of the effects seen. Arsenic-induced alteration in PAM function may compromise host defense.
Environmental Research 02/1995; 68(1):59-67. · 3.40 Impact Factor