Differential Effects of Arsenic in Drinking Water on Mouse Hepatic and Intestinal Heme Oxygenase-1 Expression

Hui Li, Xiaoyu Fan, Xiangmeng Wu, Weiguo Han, Mary Kay Amistadi, Pengfei Liu, Donna Zhang, Jon Chorover, Xinxin Ding, Qing Yu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arsenic exposure has been associated with the risks of various diseases, including cancers and metabolic diseases. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of arsenic exposure via drinking water on the expression of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a major responsive gene to arsenic-induced oxidative stress, in mouse intestinal epithelial cells which is the first site of exposure for ingested arsenic, and the liver, a known target of arsenic toxicity. The expression of HO-1 was determined at mRNA, protein, or enzymic activity levels in mice exposed to sodium arsenite through drinking water, at various doses (0, 2.5, 10, 25, 100 ppm), and for various time periods (1, 3, 7, or 28 days). HO-1 was significantly induced in the intestine, but not liver, at arsenic doses of 25 ppm or lower. The intestinal HO-1 induction was seen in both males and females, plateaued within 1–3 days of exposure, and was accompanied by increases in microsomal HO activity. In mice exposed to 25-ppm of arsenite for 7 days, total arsenic and As(III) levels in intestinal epithelial cells were significantly higher than in the liver. These findings identify intestinal epithelial cells as likely preferential targets for arsenic toxicity and support further studies on the functional consequences of intestinal HO-1 induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1835
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • arsenic
  • heme oxygenase
  • liver
  • small intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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