Arsenic exposure induces the warburg effect in cultured human cells

Fei Zhao, Paul Severson, Samantha Pacheco, Bernard W. Futscher, Walter T. Klimecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding how arsenic exacts its diverse, global disease burden is hampered by a limited understanding of the particular biological pathways that are disrupted by arsenic and underlie pathogenesis. A reductionist view would predict that a small number of basic pathways are generally perturbed by arsenic, and manifest as diverse diseases. Following an initial observation that arsenite-exposed cells in culture acidify their media more rapidly than control cells, the report here shows that low level exposure to arsenite (75. ppb) is sufficient to induce aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect) as a generalized phenomenon in cultured human primary cells and cell lines. Expanded studies in one such cell line, the non-malignant pulmonary epithelial line, BEAS-2B, established that the arsenite-induced Warburg effect was associated with increased accumulation of intracellular and extracellular lactate, an increased rate of extracellular acidification, and inhibition by the non-metabolized glucose analog, 2-deoxy-D-glucose. Associated with the induction of aerobic glycolysis was a pathway-wide induction of glycolysis gene expression, as well as protein accumulation of an established glycolysis master-regulator, hypoxia-inducible factor 1A. Arsenite-induced alteration of energy production in human cells represents the type of fundamental perturbation that could extend to many tissue targets and diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Volume271
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 5 2013

Keywords

  • Arsenite
  • Glycolysis
  • Hypoxia-inducible factor 1
  • Warburg effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology

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