Subsoil water contamination with arsenic is a burning global health issue. People experiencing exposure to contaminated water by arsenic throughout years can give rise to development of myriad clinical manifestations with a chief of arsenicosis which is the collective form of pigmentation and keratotic lesion of the skin. We surveyed over a population of above 500 people in West Bengal who are chronically exposed to arsenic at various doses through their drinking water throughout years which revealed a discreet variation in the development of such symptoms. This discrimination may be due to the error in metabolism which comes from the polymorphic association of genes particularly involved in arsenic metabolism. To check our hypothesis we conducted a case control study over 78 study subjects including control and arsenic exposed people, with different level of exposure, chosen from the Nadia district of West Bengal, India. Our result revealed that glutathione-S-transferase (GST) polymorphism is closely associated with the degree of urinary excretion of arsenic in people with arsenic exposure. Persons with GSTMI and TI null genotype showed a significantly decreased level of total urinary arsenic than GSTMI and TI non null genotype of the same exposure group and also from the unexposed control group. The degree of keratosis and pigmentation also goes high in exposed people with GSTMI or TI null genotype. The overall skin manifestation is also significantly higher in persons with null genotype of GST in comparison to non null counterpart of the study population.
Key words: Pigmentation, keratosis, arsenic exposure, glutathione-S-transferase (GST)polymorphism, total urinary arsenic.
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