Trivalent methylated metabolites of arsenic, monomethylarsonous acid (MMAIII) and dimethylarsinous acid (DMAIII), have been found highly reactive and toxic in various cells and in vivo animal models, suggesting their roles in the arsenic-associated toxicity. However, their effects on cardiovascular system including blood cells, one of the most important targets for arsenic toxicity, remain poorly understood. Here we found that MMAIII and DMAIII could induce procoagulant activity and apoptosis in platelets, which play key roles in the development of various cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) through excessive thrombus formation. In freshly isolated human platelets, treatment of MMAIII resulted in phosphatidylserine (PS) exposure, a hallmark of procoagulant activation, accompanied by distinctive apoptotic features including mitochondrial membrane potential disruption, cytochrome c release, and caspase-3 activation. These procoagulant activation and apoptotic features were found to be mediated by the depletion of protein thiol and intracellular ATP, and flippase inhibition by MMAIII, while the intracellular calcium increase or reactive oxygen species generation was not involved. Importantly, increased platelet procoagulant activity by MMAIII resulted in enhanced blood coagulation and excessive thrombus formation in a rat in vivo venous thrombosis model. DMAIII also induced PS-exposure with apoptotic features mediated by protein thiol depletion, which resulted in enhanced thrombin generation. In summary, we believe that this study provides an important evidence for the role of trivalent methylated arsenic metabolites in arsenic-associated CVDs, giving a novel insight into the role of platelet apoptosis in toxicant-induced cardiovascular toxicity.
- Procoagulant activity
- Trivalent methylated arsenicals