Arsenic Impairs Wound Healing Processes in Dermal Fibroblasts and Mice

Sara R. Dresler, Bronson I. Pinto, Matthew C. Salanga, Catherine R. Propper, Savannah R. Berry, Robert S. Kellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inorganic arsenic (NaAsO2) is a naturally occurring metalloid found in water resources globally and in the United States at concentrations exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Maximum Contamination Level of 10 ppb. While exposure to arsenic has been linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and skin lesions, the impact of arsenic exposure on wound healing is not fully understood. Cultured dermal fibroblasts exposed to NaAsO2 displayed reduced migration (scratch closure), proliferation, and viability with a lowest observable effect level (LOEL) of 10 µM NaAsO2 following 24 h exposure. An enrichment of Matrix Metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1) transcripts was observed at a LOEL of 1 µM NaAsO2 and 24 h exposure. In vivo, C57BL/6 mice were exposed to 10 µM NaAsO2 in their drinking water for eight weeks, then subjected to two full thickness dorsal wounds. Wounds were evaluated for closure after 6 days. Female mice displayed a significant reduction in wound closure and higher erythema levels, while males showed no effects. Gene expression analysis from skin excised from the wound site revealed significant enrichment in Arsenic 3-Methyltransferase (As3mt) and Estrogen Receptor 2 (Esr2) mRNA in the skin of female mice. These results indicate that arsenic at environmentally relevant concentrations may negatively impact wound healing processes in a sex-specific manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2161
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • As3mt
  • MMP1
  • endocrine disruption
  • environmental contaminants
  • scratch assay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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