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Department of Biological Sciences; Department of Biomedical Engineering; Great Lakes Research Center; Health Research Institute


Arsenic (As) is one of the most toxic environmental pollutants, classified as a Class I carcinogen. Anthropogenic activities have led to an increase in As contamination of soils. Using animal models to study the health impacts of As is time and cost-prohibitive, hence attempts have been made to develop in-vitro cell culture models. However, most studies so far have not represented realistic environmental exposure conditions. We exposed Human Immortalized Keratinocyte (HaCaT) and Primary Human Dermal Fibroblasts (HDFa) cells to the water-soluble fraction of arsenic extracted from As spiked Immokalee soil to study the effect of soil As on skin cells. The impact of As was determined through cell viability, cell migration, and quantitative assessment of the expression of cadherins, CD44, and Zeb1 using Western Blotting and In-cell Western. Our data indicated that HaCaT cells were more susceptible to As-induced cellular transformation than HDFa cells. At concentrations above 225 mg/kg of soil As, cellular responses were impacted, and changes in the expression of proteins were observed in HaCaT cells. The work presented here is a methodical approach to studying the impacts of toxic elements such as As through innovative cellular models using realistic environmental conditions, that can be readily adapted for different exposure pathways.

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© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. Publisher’s version of record:

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Environmental Technology and Innovation


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Biology Commons



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