Arsenic, a naturally occurring environmental contaminant, is harmful to humans at elevated concentrations. Increased levels of arsenic in the environment occur as a result of human activities and from natural geologically sourced leaching into ground and surface water. These sources pose an exposure risk above the USEPA standard to individuals whose food and water sources become contaminated. Arsenic exposure negatively impacts organ function and increases the risk for developing pathologies, including cancer. Some of the effects of arsenic on cancer translate to normal cell function in wound healing. To evaluate whether arsenic influences wound healing, an in vitro scratch assay was employed to study the effects of arsenic on cellular migration, which is a key component in the normal wound-healing process. In this study, skin cells were exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of arsenic, and wound closure was evaluated. Results indicated that arsenic significantly decreased the rate of cellular migration in the scratch assay when compared with controls. In addition, estradiol, which has been shown to positively influence cellular and tissue processes involved in wound healing, reversed the slowing effects of arsenic on wound closure. These results suggest that arsenic contamination may inhibit, and estrogen may provide a therapeutic benefit for individuals with arsenic-contaminated wounds.
- in vitro
- scratch assay
- wound healing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medical Laboratory Technology
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis