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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Obstetrics - Pediatrics and Child Health

Effects of Low-Dose Drinking Water Arsenic on Mouse Fetal and Postnatal Growth and Development
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Author: Courtney D. Kozul-Horvath et al.

by Courtney D. Kozul-Horvath, Fokko Zandbergen, Brian P. Jackson, Richard I. Enelow, Joshua W. Hamilton

Background

Arsenic (As) exposure is a significant worldwide environmental health concern. Chronic exposure via contaminated drinking water has been associated with an increased incidence of a number of diseases, including reproductive and developmental effects. The goal of this study was to identify adverse outcomes in a mouse model of early life exposure to low-dose drinking water As (10 ppb, current U.S. EPA Maximum Contaminant Level).

Methodology and Findings

C57B6/J pups were exposed to 10 ppb As, via the dam in her drinking water, either in utero and/or during the postnatal period. Birth outcomes, the growth of the F1 offspring, and health of the dams were assessed by a variety of measurements. Birth outcomes including litter weight, number of pups, and gestational length were unaffected. However, exposure during the in utero and postnatal period resulted in significant growth deficits in the offspring after birth, which was principally a result of decreased nutrients in the dam's breast milk. Cross-fostering of the pups reversed the growth deficit. Arsenic exposed dams displayed altered liver and breast milk triglyceride levels and serum profiles during pregnancy and lactation. The growth deficits in the F1 offspring resolved following separation from the dam and cessation of exposure in male mice, but did not resolve in female mice up to six weeks of age.

Conclusions/Significance

Exposure to As at the current U.S. drinking water standard during critical windows of development induces a number of adverse health outcomes for both the dam and offspring. Such effects may contribute to the increased disease risks observed in human populations.

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