The role of reactive oxygen species in arsenite and monomethylarsonous acid-induced signal transduction in human bladder cells: Acute studies

K. E. Eblin, A. M. Hau, T. J. Jensen, B. W. Futscher, A. J. Gandolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Arsenicals are known to induce ROS, which can lead to DNA damage, oxidative stress, and carcinogenesis. A human urothelial cell line, UROtsa, was used to study the effects of arsenicals on the human bladder. Arsenite [As(III)] and monomethylarsonous acid [MMA(III)] induce oxidative stress in UROtsa cells after exposure to concentrations as low as 1 μM and 50 nM, respectively. Previous research has implicated ROS as signaling molecules in the MAPK signaling pathway. As(III) and MMA(III) have been shown to increase phosphorylation of key proteins in the MAPK signaling cascade downstream of ErbB2. Both Src phosphorylation (p-Src) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) are induced after exposure to 50 nM MMA(III) and 1 μM As(III). These data suggest that ROS production is a plausible mechanism for the signaling alterations seen in UROtsa cells after acute arsenical exposure. To determine importance of ROS in the MAPK cascade and its downstream induction of p-Src and COX-2, specific ROS antioxidants (both enzymatic and non-enzymatic) were used concomitantly with arsenicals. COX-2 protein and mRNA was shown to be much more influenced by altering the levels of ROS in cells, particularly after MMA(III) treatment. The antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) effectively blocked both As(III)-and MMA(III)- associated COX-2 induction. The generation of ROS and subsequent altered signaling did lead to changes in protein levels of SOD, which were detected after treatment with either 1 μM As(III) or 50 nM MMA(III). These data suggest that the generation of ROS by arsenicals may be a mechanism leading to the altered cellular signaling seen after low-level arsenical exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 19 2008



  • Arsenite [As(III)]
  • MAPK
  • Monomethylarsonous acid [MMA(III)]
  • ROS
  • ROS scavengers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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