Effect of arsenic acid withdrawal on hepatotoxicity and disruption of erythrocyte antioxidant defense system

Document Type


Publication Date



We investigated the effects of withdrawal from Sodium arsenite (NaAsO2) on the hepatic and antioxidant defense system in male Wistar rats using a before and after toxicant design. Rats were orally gavaged daily with varying doses of NaAsO2 for a period of 4 weeks. One half of the population was sacrificed and the remaining half had the toxicant withdrawn for another further 4 weeks. Biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques were used to assess the impact of withdrawal on the erythrocyte and hepatic systems. Exposure of Wistar rats to NaASO2 led to a significant (p < 0.05) increase in hepatic and erythrocyte markers of oxidative stress (malondialdehyde, thiol contents and hydrogen peroxide generation). Concurrently, there was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in hepatic and erythrocyte antioxidant enzymes (glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase) following exposure. Withdrawal from NaAsO2 exposure led to a decline in both erythrocyte and hepatic markers of oxidative stress and together with a significant improvement in antioxidant defense system. Histopathology and immunohistochemistry revealed varying degrees of recovery in hepatocyte ultrastructure alongside increased expression of the pro-survival protein Kinase B (Akt/PKB) after 4 weeks of NaAsO2 withdrawal. Conclusively, withdrawal from exposure led to a partial recovery from oxidative stress-mediated hepatotoxicity and derangements in erythrocyte antioxidant system through Akt/PKB pathway.