It is known that either arsenic exposure or diabetes can impact renal function. However, it is unclear how these combined factors may influence kidney functions. Therefore, we evaluated morphological, functional, and oxidative parameters in the kidney of diabetic rats exposed to arsenic. Healthy male Wistar rats and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were exposed to 0 and 10 mg/L arsenate through drinking water for 40 days. Renal tissue was assessed using morphometry, mitosis and apoptosis markers, mineral proportion, oxidative stress markers, as well as the activity of antioxidant enzymes and membrane-bound adenosine triphosphatases. Arsenate intake altered glucose levels in healthy animals, but it did not reach hyperglycemic conditions. In diabetic animals, arsenate led to a remarkable increase of glycogen nephrosis in distal tubules. In these animals, additionally, the activity of catalase and glutathione S-transferase, besides the proportion of Fe, Cu, and K in renal tissue, was altered. Nevertheless, arsenate did not accumulate in the kidney and did not impact on other parameters previously altered by diabetes, including levels of malondialdehyde, Na, urea, creatinine, and apoptosis and mitosis markers. In conclusion, besides the intensification of glycogen nephrosis, the kidney was able to handle arsenate toxicity at this point, preventing arsenic deposition in the exposed groups and the impairment of renal function.
Keywords: Arsenate; Diabetes; Environmental pollution; Glycogen nephrosis; Kidney; Nephrotoxicity; Toxicologic pathology.