Arsenic and Immune Response to Infection During Pregnancy and Early Life
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Purpose of Review
Arsenic, a known carcinogen and developmental toxicant, is a major threat to global health. While the contribution of arsenic exposure to chronic diseases and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes is recognized, its ability to impair critical functions of humoral and cell-mediated immunity—including the specific mechanisms in humans—is not well understood. Arsenic has been shown to increase risk of infectious diseases that have significant health implications during pregnancy and early life. Here, we review the latest research on the mechanisms of arsenic-related immune response alterations that could underlie arsenic-associated increased risk of infection during the vulnerable periods of pregnancy and early life.
The latest evidence points to alteration of antibody production and transplacental transfer as well as failure of T helper cells to produce IL-2 and proliferate.
Critical areas for future research include the effects of arsenic exposure during pregnancy and early life on immune responses to natural infection and the immunogenicity and efficacy of vaccines.
KeywordsArsenic exposure Immune response Infection Immunotoxicity Pregnant women Newborns Children
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
The authors would like to acknowledge their funding sources: NIH grants 1R01ES026973-01A1, R01ES021367, and R01ES025216.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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