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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 2008 (2008), Article ID 539082, 8 pages
Research Article

Methylated Trivalent Arsenic-Glutathione Complexes are More Stable than their Arsenite Analog

Department of Chemistry, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4

Received 22 February 2008; Accepted 3 April 2008

Academic Editor: Vito Lippolis

Copyright © 2008 Andrew J. Percy and Jürgen Gailer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The trivalent arsenic glutathione complexes arsenic triglutathione, methylarsonous diglutathione, and dimethylarsinous glutathione are key intermediates in the mammalian metabolism of arsenite and possibly represent the arsenic species that are transported from the liver to the kidney for urinary excretion. Despite this, the comparative stability of the arsenic-sulfur bonds in these complexes has not been investigated under physiological conditions resembling hepatocyte cytosol. Using size-exclusion chromatography and a glutathione-containing phosphate buffered saline mobile phase (5 or 10 mM glutathione, pH 7.4) in conjunction with an arsenic-specific detector, we chromatographed arsenite, monomethylarsonous acid, and dimethylarsinous acid. The on-column formation of the corresponding arsenic-glutathione complexes between 4 and 37C revealed that methylated arsenic-glutathione complexes are more stable than arsenic triglutathione. The relevance of these results with regard to the metabolic fate of arsenite in mammals is discussed.