Division of Metals & Health, Institute of Environmental Medicine; Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
Postal address: Institutet för miljömedicin (IMM), Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Nobels väg 13, Karolinska Institutet, Solna
Fax: +46 (0)8 33 69 81
Web page: http://ki.se/ki/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=28910&l=en
Contact person: Professor Marie Vahter, Head of Unit, phone: +46 (0)8 728 75 40
The Division of Matals & Health is part of the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IEM), which is an interdisciplinary research organisation and an expert voice within the field of environmental medicine. In addition to its extensive research activities, IEM is also responsible for several teaching programmes and for investigations and analyses, pertaining to physical and chemical aspects of environmental medicine and health protection. IEM is a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaboration Centre for environmental health effects.
Research connected to South Asia
Professor Marie Vahter has been working on a project on ”
Project description: Arsenic is a documented human carcinogen, but there is a lack of information on the dose-response curve in the low dose range as well as susceptibility factors. The aim of the ongoing research activities is to determine the relationship between arsenic exposure via drinking water at concentrations below 100 µg/L and the cancer risk, including interacting factors, in particular genetic and environmental factors influencing susceptibility to the arsenic-related effects. Inorganic arsenic is biotransformed by methylation in the body (S-adenosylmethionine pathway). The main metabolites excreted in urine are methylarsonic acid (MMA) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), but reactive and highly toxic intermediate metabolites, especially MMAIII, may be formed and retained in tissues. A sensitive analytical speciation method based on HPLC in combination with ICP-MS has been set up. The project is financed by EU and Sida. Reports: Lindberg A-L, Goessler W, Gurzau E, Koppova K, Rudnai P, Kumar R, Fletcher T, Leonardi G and Vahter M. Arsenic exposure in Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. J Environ Monit. 8(1), 203-208, 2006. (Highlighted article).
Lindberg A-L, Goessler W, Nermell B, Grandér M, Vahter M. Evaluation of the three most commonly used analytical methods for determination of inorganic arsenic and its metabolites in urine. Toxicol. Lett. 168, 310–318, 2007.
Lindberg A-L, Kumar R, Goessler W, Thirumaran R, Gurzau E, Koppova K, Rudnai P, Leonardi G, Fletcher T, and Vahter M. Metabolism of low-dose inorganic arsenic in a central European population: influence of sex and genetic polymorphisms. Environ. Health Perspect. 115(7), 1081-1086, 2007.
In the Argentinean Andes people have been exposed to arsenic in drinking water for thousands of years and we have found that people have a unique metabolism of arsenic. This can largely be explained by genetic polymorphisms in the genes involved in one carbon metabolism. The results are important for the understanding of susceptibility to arsenic induced health effects. For more information, see Schläwicke Engström K, Broberg K, Concha G, Nermell B, Warholm M, Vahter M. Genetic polymorphisms influencing arsenic metabolism - evidence from Argentina. Environ. Health Perspect. 115(4), 599-605, 2007.
In November 2003 Marie Vahter was given SEK 975 000 as a three-years grant (2004–06) from the Swedish Research Council for the project
At about the same time she was given a two-years planning grant from Sida/SAREC for another Bangladesh related project called ”
Professor Vahter is since 2001 collaborating with researchers at ICDDR,B, Dhaka, and professor Lars-Åke Persson at International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University, in research on health hazards caused by arsenic contaminated wells in Bangladesh. The main financial support is provided by Sida/SAREC, Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council Formas, and EU (PHIME project FP 6 Food). More information on South Asia related grants from Sida/SAREC 2005.
On 30 October 2007, Prof. Vahter was given a three-years grant for the period 2008-10 from the Swedish Research Council. She was given SEK 2.7 million for a project titled ”
Rahman A, Vahter M, Ekström E-C, Rahman M, Mustafa AHMG, Wahed MA, Yunus M, Persson L-Å. Arsenic exposure in pregnancy is associated with fetal loss and infant death: a cohort study in Bangladesh. Am J Epidemiol. 165(12), 1389-1396, 2007.
Kippler M, Lönnerdal B, Ekström E-C, Goessler W, Åkesson A, El Arifeen S, Persson L Å, Vahter M. Cadmium exposure in pregnant Bangladeshi women – interactions with iron and zinc. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 222, 201-206, 2007.
Li L, Ekström E-C, Goessler W, Lönnerdal B, Nermell B, Yunus Md, Rahman A, El Arifeen S, Persson LÅ, Vahter M. Nutritional status has marginal influence on the metabolism of inorganic arsenic in pregnant Bangladeshi women. Environ. Health Perspect. 116(3):315-21, 2008. E-Pub 19 November 2007.
Lindberg A-L, Rahman M, Persson LÅ, Vahter M. The risk of arsenic induced skin lesions in Bangladeshi men and women is affected by arsenic metabolism and the age at first exposure. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 230, 9-16, 2008.
Fängström B, Moore S, Nermell B, Kuenstl L, Goessler W, Grandér M, Kabir I, Palm B, El Arifeen S, Vahter M. 2008. Breast feeding protects against arsenic exposure in Bangladeshi infants. Environ Health Perspect. 116(7), 963-969, 2008. More information (only in Swedish)
Earler the same year, in June 2007, Prof. Vahter received another SEK 945 000 for an application to the Joint Formas – Sida/SAREC programme for research on sustainable development in developing countries, for a project titled
In November 2008, Prof. Vahter was given SEK 500 000 as a one-year grant from Sida/SAREC’s Developing Country Research Council for a project titled
In May 2010, Marie Vahter participated in the SASNET seminar on Arsenic in Drinking Water that was held at Lund University. The well-attended seminar drew a mixed audience of researchers, students and other interested people. The seminar was co- organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS); the Division of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University; KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group at the Dept. of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm; and The Swallows India-Bangladesh section. H.E. Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Ambassador of Bangladesh to Sweden was the guest of honour during the day. More information.
Read a full report from the seminar.
In October 2010, Prof. Vahter was awarded a new major grant from Sida/SAREC’s Developing Country Research Council, this time SEK 3 m for a research project over three years (2011-13). The project is entitled ”
Abstract: The project is a follow-up study of the children (at 9–10 years of age) in the previous longitudinal mother-child cohort study on health effects of early-life exposure to arsenic and other pollutants (e.g. lead, cadmium, manganese, DDT) in drinking water and food. Marie Vahter and her colleagues have extensive exposure data on an individual level (mainly biomarkers) from early pergnancy to 5 years of age. They also study concentrations of pollutants in water and food.
In October 2011, Sida’s (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) U-landsforskningsråd decided to award Prof. Vahter another SEK 2.1 m for a three-year (2012-13) research grant for a new project entitled ”
Abstract: Environmental pollution and unsustainable use of chemicals in low-income countries is an increasing, largely neglected, poverty related problem. The overall aim of this project is to increase the awareness of environmental pollution in Bangladesh by improving the capabilities to assess human exposure to chemicals, to identify sources of pollution, and to carry out risk assessment in Bangladesh. More specifically, the aim is to i) initiate a monitoring program for assessment of human exposure to environmental pollutants, ii) identify major sources of the observed exposures, iii) establish monitoring networks through contact with climate change related disciplines and organisations, and iv) to follow-up on the on-going series of dissemination seminars. Focus is on women and children, who are the most susceptible population groups.