In utero arsenic exposure and fetal immune repertoire in a US pregnancy cohort

Kari C. Nadeau, Zhigang Li, Shohreh Farzan, Devin Koestler, David Robbins, Dennis Liang Fei, Meena Malipatlolla, Holden Maecker, Richard Enelow, Susan Korrick, Margaret R. Karagas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Arsenic has wide-ranging effects on human health and there is evidence that it alters the immune response by influencing CD4. +/CD8. + T cell ratios, IL-2 cytokine levels, and the expression of immune-response genes. We investigated the impact of in utero environmental arsenic exposure on immune development and function in newborns participating in a pregnancy cohort in New Hampshire, U.S., where arsenic levels have exceeded the current EPA maximum contaminant level of 10. μg/L. Our results showed that maternal urinary arsenic concentrations were inversely related to absolute total CD45RA. + CD4. + cord blood CD69. + T cell counts (N. = 116, p= 0.04) and positively associated with CD45RA. + CD69. - CD294. + cell counts ( p= 0.01). In placental samples (N. = 70), higher in utero urinary arsenic concentrations were positively associated with the expression of IL1β ( p= 0.03). These data provide evidence that relatively low-level arsenic exposure in utero may alter the fetal immune system and lead to immune dysregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • AQP9
  • Arsenic
  • IL1β
  • Immune function
  • In utero
  • T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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