Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Arsenic-induced changes in the gene expression of lung epithelial L2 cells: implications in carcinogenesis

Tisha Posey, Tingting Weng, Zhongming Chen, Narendranath R Chintagari, Pengcheng Wang, Nili Jin, Heidi Stricker and Lin Liu*

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiological Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA

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BMC Genomics 2008, 9:115  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-115

Published: 3 March 2008



Arsenic is a carcinogen that is known to induce cell transformation and tumor formation. Although studies have been performed to examine the modulation of signaling molecules caused by arsenic exposure, the molecular mechanisms by which arsenic causes cancer are still unclear. We hypothesized that arsenic alters gene expression leading to carcinogenesis in the lung.


In this study, we examined global gene expression in response to 0.75 μM arsenic treatment for 1–7 days in a rat lung epithelial cell line (L2) using an in-house 10 k rat DNA microarray. One hundred thirty one genes were identified using the one-class statistical analysis of microarray (SAM) test. Of them, 33 genes had a fold change of ≥ 2 between at least two time points. These genes were then clustered into 5 groups using K-means cluster analysis based on their expression patterns. Seven selected genes, all associated with cancer, were confirmed by real-time PCR. These genes have functions directly or indirectly related to metabolism, glycolysis, cell proliferation and differentiation, and regulation of transcription.


Our findings provide important insight for the future studies of arsenic-mediated lung cancer.