Chapter 19: Developmental Arsenic Exposure: Behavioral Dysfunctions and Neurochemical Perturbations

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Handbook of Arsenic Toxicology


Arsenic is a naturally occurring metalloid. Since ancient times, it has been renowned as a homicidal and suicidal poison. Arsenic exposure in conjunction with other metals has also been documented in several nations. Arsenic compounds pose some health risks; however, the developing brain appears to be particularly vulnerable. Arsenic impairs children's psychomotor, linguistic, and memory development. These effects are exacerbated when combined with other xenobiotic metals. The hazardous products are dose and duration-dependent, and these dynamics can rapidly alter when exposure occurs in combination. Laboratory studies examined the mechanism of Arsenic-induced neural and behavioral disturbances and concluded that neurotransmitter systems and oxidative stress are involved in arsenic-induced neurotoxic and behavioral impacts. A few studies also suggested the involvement of epigenetic changes induced by arsenic alone or in combination with higher dose of metals such as fluoride. Although chelating drugs are routinely used to treat heavy metal toxicity, laboratory experiments combining metal chelators with antioxidants demonstrated promising results, indicating that this combination may be a viable strategy for reversing arsenic-induced toxicity. When endogenous metals, calcium, and zinc were combined with monoisoamyl dimercaptosuccinic acid, a thiol chelator, the combination demonstrated better protective activity against arsenic-induced neurotoxicity and behavioral consequences when compared with the two drugs alone.



Publication Date



Arsenic, Behavior, Development, Endogenous metals, Epigenetics, Metal chelators, Neurotoxicity, Neurotransmitters




Academic Press