Fluoride Action Network


Arsenic and fluoride are potent toxicants, widely distributed through drinking water and food and often result in adverse health effects. The present study examined the effects of sodium meta-arsenite (100 mg/l in drinking water) and sodium fluoride (5 mg/kg, oral, once daily), administered either alone or in combination for 8 weeks, on various biochemical variables indicative of tissue oxidative stress and cell injury in Swiss albino male mice. A separate group was first exposed to arsenic for 4 weeks followed by 4 weeks of fluoride exposure. Exposure to arsenic or fluoride led to a significant depletion of blood delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) activity and glutathione (GSH) level. These changes were accompanied by increased level of blood and tissues reactive oxygen species (ROS) level. An increase in the level of liver and kidney thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS) along with a concomitant decrease in the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and reduced GSH content were observed in both arsenic and fluoride administered mice. The changes were significantly more pronounced in arsenic exposed animals than in fluoride. It was interesting to observe that during combined exposure the toxic effects were less pronounced compared to the effects of arsenic or fluoride alone. In some cases antagonistic effects were noted following co-exposure to arsenic and fluoride. Arsenic and fluoride concentration increased significantly on exposure. Interestingly, their concentration decreased significantly on concomitant exposure for 8 weeks. However, the group which was administered arsenic for 4 weeks followed by 4 weeks of fluoride administration showed no such protection suggesting that the antagonistic effect of fluoride on arsenic or vice versa is possible only during interaction at the gastro intestinal sites. These results are new and interesting and require further exploration.