Epidemiological studies link arsenic exposure to increased risks of cancers of the skin, kidney, lung, bladder and liver. Additionally, a variety of non-cancerous conditions such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease have been associated with chronic ingestion of low levels of arsenic. However, the biological and molecular mechanisms by which arsenic exerts its effects remain elusive. Here we report increased renal hexokinase II (HKII) expression in response to arsenic exposure both in vivo and in vitro. In our model, HKII was up-regulated in the renal glomeruli of mice exposed to low levels of arsenic (10 ppb or 50 ppb) via their drinking water for up to 21 days. Additionally, a similar effect was observed in cultured renal mesangial cells exposed to arsenic. This correlation between our in vivo and in vitro data provides further evidence for a direct link between altered renal HKII expression and arsenic exposure. Thus, our data suggest that alterations in renal HKII expression may be involved in arsenic-induced pathological conditions involving the kidney. More importantly, these results were obtained using environmentally relevant arsenic concentrations.
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