Fluoride Action Network



  • Co-exposure to arsenic and fluoride leads to adverse cardiovascular effects.
  • Co-exposure to arsenic and fluoride results in gut microbiota perturbations.
  • Co-exposure causes more prominent effects than arsenic or fluoride alone.
  • Strong correlations are identified between cardiovascular effects and significantly altered genera.

Co-exposure to inorganic arsenic (iAs) and fluoride (F) and their collective actions on cardiovascular systems have been recognized as a global public health concern. Emerging studies suggest an association between the perturbation of gut bacterial microbiota and adverse cardiovascular effects (CVEs), both of which are the consequence of iAs and F exposure in human and experimental animals. The aim of this study was to fill the gap of understanding the relationship among co-exposure to iAs and F, gut microbiota perturbation, and adverse CVEs. We systematically assessed cardiac morphology and functions (blood pressure, echocardiogram, and electrocardiogram), and generated gut microbiota profiles using 16S rRNA gene sequencing on rats exposed to iAs (50 mg/L NaAsO2), F (100 mg/L NaF) or combined iAs and F (50 mg/L NaAsO2 + 100 mg/L NaF), in utero and during early postnatal periods (postnatal day 90). Correlation analysis was then performed to examine relationship between significantly altered microbiota and cardiac performance indices. Our results showed that co-exposure to iAs and F resulted in more prominent effects in CVEs and perturbation of gut microbiota profiles, compared to iAs or F treatment alone. Furthermore, nine bacterial genera (Adlercreutzia, Clostridium sensu stricto 1, Coprococcus 3, Romboutsia, [Bacteroides] Pectinophilus group, Lachnospiraceae NC2004 group, Desulfovibrio, and two unidentified genera in Muribaculaceae and Ruminococcaceae family), which differed significantly in relative abundance between control and iAs and F co-exposure group, were strongly correlated with the higher risk of CVEs (correlation coefficient = 0.70–0.88, p < 0.05). Collectively, these results suggest that co-exposure to iAs and F poses a higher risk of CVEs, and the part of the mode of action is potentially through inducing gut microbiota disruption, and the strong correlations between them indicate a high potential for the development of novel microbiome-based biomarkers of iAs and/or F associated CVEs.