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Aperito Journal of Drug Designing
and Pharmacology
Received: May 08, 2015
Accepted: Jun 19, 2015
Published: Jun 22, 2015
Sinan Ince, Aperito J Drug Design Pharmacol 2015, 2:1
An Update on Health Effects of Metalloid Trace Element: Boron
Sinan Ince1* and Damla Arslan-Acaroz2
Afyon Kocatepe University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 03030
Afyonkarahisar, Turkey
Afyon Kocatepe University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, 03030 Afyonkarahisar, Turkey
micronutrient for the growth and viability of plants. The
Boron (B), an element with the atomic number 5 in
primary source of B for human and animal nutrition is
the periodic table, found in the earth’s crust. In the
vegetable products, the highest B contents found in fruits
surroundings, it is a ubiquitous element combined with
and legumes. Although, the biochemical mechanism of B is
oxygen to form compounds that are called borates. It is not
not wholly known yet. However, B is determined to be an
present on the universe in its elemental form which is found
essential element of human and animals and is present in
only in compounds. Widespread borate compounds are boric
their tissues at low concentrations. According to this
acid, sodium tetraborates that are also referred as borax, and
knowledge, B is mainly investigated in terms of its effects
boron oxide. Borates are found in nature in soils, rocks,
on metabolism, diseases, and assessed its potential risks. In
surface water, and ocean water. Seven to eighteen percent of
this review, we summarized usage of B, and its effects on
environmental B derives from several “anthropogenic”
cancer, antioxidant status and assessment of its risks.
sources (fertilizers, releases of a wastewater treatment plant,
Keywords: Boron; Boron compounds; Cancer; Antioxidant
and a waste of coal-fired power plants ash). B is used in
status; Risk assessment
many industrial areas which include glass, ceramics, soaps,
agriculture. For this reason, its exposure is inevitable, its
benefits and risk assessments are still performing. For
decades, it has been known that B is an essential
Corresponding Author: Sinan INCE, Ph.D Afyon
Kocatepe University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 03030
Afyonkarahisar-Turkey; Tel: +90272281312-16142; Fax:
+90272281349; E-mail: [email protected],
[email protected]
Boron (B) is a unique and exciting element. Also, it
supplementation may have significant effects on diverse
shows many similarities to carbon, a neighbor of B in the
metabolic and physiological systems of the organism [4].
periodic table, and silicon. At the same time, B has two
Studies have demonstrated that B has effects on the
naturally occurring isotopes [1]. Approximately there are
metabolism of minerals (Ca and P) [5], vitamin D [6],
230 kinds of B mineral, and they are not found in elemental
form in nature [2]. B is a trace mineral for plants, animals,
cytochrome b5 reductase) [6, 3], hormones (insulin,
and humans [3]. Findings suggest that in animal and human
estrogen, testosterone, T3, T4) [7, 8, 9], and reactive oxygen
nutrition, physiological amounts of dietary boron B
species develops [10]. Also, B plays an important
Copyright: © 2015 AJDDP. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, Version 3.0, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Volume 2 • Issue 1 • 113
Citation: Sinan Ince et al. (2015), An Update on Health Effects of Metalloid Trace Element: Boron. Aperito J
Drug Design Pharmacol 2:113
Page 2 of 6
role in plasma lipid profiles, brain function and improving
and humans [21, 22]. B is not metabolized and is excreted
arthritis [3, 11]. A diet with low B has been observed to lead
from body through urine. It does not appear to accumulate in
to a number of general health problems and to increase
soft tissue, but in bones [23].
cancer risk. The most frequent signs of B deficiency include
By now, two possible hypotheses present the mechanism of
arthritis, memory loss, osteoporosis, degenerative and soft
B in animals and humans. First, B may have a role in cell–
cartilage diseases, hormonal disequilibria and a reduction in
membrane, influence responses to hormone action, the
libido [12].
transmembrane signalling and movement of regulatory ions
Boron sources and its usage
[6]. Second, B may act as a metabolic regulator in several
Mineral resources of a country provide not only
enzymatic systems [7]. Also, boronated agents could have
politic but also economic advantages. B has strategic
ability to decrease lipid levels, inhibit inflammation and
importance and its reserves of world principally found in
regulate proliferation of cells [11]. At the same time, B
Turkey, the United States, Argentina, Peru, Russia, and
limits oxidative damage by enhancing body stores of
China. Turkey has the largest boron reserves, and 72% of
glutathione and by inhibiting other ROS [24].
total world reserves are located in Turkey [13, 14, 15].
Boron and Cancer
Important boron compounds are borax (tincal), kernite,
Cancer causes to death worldwide than many
pandermite, ulexite, colemanite and hydroboracite [16]. B is
diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria [25]. Until
an important component of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and
now, B and its compounds are widely used and it is included
is necessary for a variety of industrial processes. In cosmetic
in the treatment of cancer. Recent epidemiological studies,
goods, it is used as a preservative, antiseptic, water softener,
which are based on the relation between prostate cancer and
pH adjuster, emulsifier, neutralizer, or buffer. It is also used
boron as a dietary factor, have shown that men who
in the production of cement, crockery, porcelain, enamels,
consume higher levels of boron have a lower risk of prostate
glass, leather, carpets, and soaps. Additionally, it is used as
cancer [26]. Gallardo-Williams et al. [27] demonstrated that
medicinal astringent, eyewashes, and antiseptic for the
boric acid reduced the growth of prostate tumors in mice as
treatment of burns [17]. Blech et al. [18] reported that
well as the level of prostate specific antigen.
treatment with a 3% boric acid solution markedly improves
In human blood cell cultures, It is reported that
the healing wounds. It is used for the treatment of
boron compounds do not show cytotoxic, genotoxic and
osteoporosis, allergic diseases, arthritis, and to treat brain
mutagenic potential [28, 29, 30]. Long-term, 2-year studies,
cancer [19]. B is used more than 400 areas [17, 20] and day
did not demonstrate a carcinogenic effect in Sprague-
by day its usage area is increasing.
Dawley rats [31]. Benson [32] reported that short-term
Distribution, elimination, and metabolism of boron
mutagenicity studies clearly revealed that boron compounds
B is absorbed rapidly from the gastrointestinal tract
are not genotoxic. Boric acid was found negative for
into the blood stream after its administration and swiftly
mutagenicity in the Salmonella typhimurium assays. In
distributed throughout the body via passive diffusion.
accordance with this [33] stated that boric acid also shows
Following the administration of B, concentration of it in the
insignificant potential for genotoxicity in bacteria and
blood and tissue is reported to be in the ratio of 1:1 in rats
cultured mammalian cells.
Volume 2 • Issue 1 • 113
Citation: Sinan Ince et al. (2015), An Update on Health Effects of Metalloid Trace Element: Boron. Aperito J
Drug Design Pharmacol 2:113
Page 3 of 6
In the boron neutron capture therapy, B compounds
system as well as an inhibition of LPO. Boric acid
particularly boric acid has been prevalently used for
significantly decreased the level of malondialdehyde in the
different types of cancer [34, 35, 36]. With this treatment,
liver of CCl4 intoxicated mice. In contrast, it increased GSH
only tumor cells are targeted and applied without excessive
content, as well as the activities of SOD and CAT in the
radiation to healthy cells. The tumor-selective delivery of B
liver [42].
by liposomes or other biodistribution techniques has been
Risk assessment of boron
demonstrated as a very useful means to increase B
Compounds of B is used in many industries which
concentrations in the tumor tissues [37, 38]. These studies
include cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and is also used in
show that B has potential anti-cancer effects on cancer cells
numerous industrial processes. Therefore daily B intake
and it may be used for the treatment of many cancer types.
varies because it is found in many sources. Risk assessment
Boron and antioxidant status
of B evaluated in terms of the most recent toxicological and
Boron is able to strengthen the antioxidant defense
pharmacokinetic researches. In rat toxicity study in which
system of tissues by means of an unidentified mechanism
the NOAEL was defined as 9.6 mg B/kg/day. A reference
may involve changes in oxidative metabolism [39, 40]. Ince
dose was detected as 0.3 mg B/kg/day and an acceptable
et al. [24] reported that B supplementation (100 mg/kg) in
daily intake of 18 mg B/day. High doses of B intake causes
diet decreases lipid peroxidation, whereas enhances the
infertility particularly effect on male reproductive system
antioxidant defense mechanism, liver Glutathione (GSH)
and disorder of bone metabolism in infant [43].
concentration and vitamin status of rats. B deficiency
increases the concentration of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD),
Recently in addition to industrial areas, B is used in
Catalase (CAT), and peroxidase in Anabaena PCC 7119
medicine. B has many pharmacological effects such as
heterocysts [41]. In addition, Turkez et al. [28] determined
regulator of metabolism, cancer suppressor and antioxidant
that 15 mg/L B compounds increased both SOD and CAT
activity. It is predicted that B compounds are going to bring
activities, while 500 mg/L B decreased both SOD and CAT
novel treatment methods. It is inevitable that B containing
activities in erythrocytes. Pawa and Ali [40] reported that
drugs or treatment methods for many diseases needed to
when 4 mg/ kg borax was inhibited thioacetamide (400
mg/kg) induced oxidative stress parameters and B could help
to maintain the oxidant/antioxidant balance of the affected
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Citation: Sinan Ince et al. (2015), An Update on Health Effects of Metalloid Trace Element: Boron. Aperito J
Drug Design Pharmacol 2:113
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