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Although occupational exposure to antimony and its compounds can produce pulmonary toxicity, human carcinogenic impacts have not been observed. Inhalation studies with respirable antimony trioxide particles administered to rats and mice have, however, induced carcinogenic responses in the lungs and related tissue sites. Genotoxicity studies conducted to elucidate mechanism(s) for tumor induction have produced mixed results. Antimony compounds do not induce gene mutations in bacteria or cultured mammalian cells, but chromosome aberrations and micronuclei have been observed, usually at highly cytotoxic concentrations. Indirect mechanisms of genotoxicity have been proposed to mediate these responses. In vivo genotoxicity tests have generally yielded negative results although several positive studies of marginal quality have been reported. Genotoxic effects may be related to indirect modes of action such as the generation of excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS), altered gene expression or interference with DNA repair processes. Such indirect mechanisms may exhibit dose-response thresholds. For example, interaction of ROS with in vivo antioxidant systems could yield a threshold for genotoxicity (and cancer) only at concentrations above the capacity of antioxidant defense mechanisms to control and/or eliminate damage from ROS. Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Craig J Boreiko, Toby G Rossman. Antimony and its compounds: Health impacts related to pulmonary toxicity, cancer, and genotoxicity. Toxicology and applied pharmacology. 2020 Sep 15;403:115156

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PMID: 32710957

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