Development of Type 1 Diabetes Linked to Arsenic Metabolism

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Arsenic metabolism is associated with type 1 diabetes in young people.
Arsenic metabolism is associated with type 1 diabetes in young people.

HealthDay News -- Arsenic metabolism seems to be associated with type 1 diabetes in young people, with a potential interaction by folate levels, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

Maria Grau-Pérez, MD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the correlation of arsenic with type 1 and 2 diabetes. Data were assessed for 688 participants aged younger than 22 years (429 with type 1 diabetes, 85 with type 2 diabetes, and 174 controls).

The researchers found that the sum of arsenic species was not linked to type 1 or type 2 diabetes. After rescaling to compare a difference in levels corresponding to the interquartile range of the relative proportions of the arsenic species over their sum for inorganic arsenic, monomethylated arsenic, and dimethylated arsenic, the odds ratios were 0.68 (95%confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.91), 1.33 (95% CI, 1.02-1.74), and 1.28 (95% CI, 1.01-1.63), respectively, for type 1 diabetes, and 0.82 (95%t CI, 0.48-1.39), 1.09 (95% CI, 0.65-1.82), and 1.17 (95%CI, 0.77-1.77), respectively, for type 2 diabetes. 

For patients with plasma folate levels above and below the median, the odds ratios of type 1 diabetes by percentage monomethylated arsenic were 1.80 (95%CI, 1.25-2.58) and 0.98 (95%CI, 0.70-1.38), respectively.

"These data support further research on the role of arsenic metabolism in type 1 diabetes, including the interplay with one-carbon metabolism biomarkers," the researchers wrote.


  1. Grau-Pérez M, Kuo C-C, Spratlen M, et al. The Association of Arsenic Exposure and Metabolism With Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Youth: The SEARCH Case-Control Study. Diabetes Care. 2016 Nov 11. doi:10.2337/dc16-0810 [Epub ahead of print].
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