- In utero and early life exposure to As and F affects kidney ultrastructure.
- Exposure to As and F alone or combined causes oxidative stress in kidney tissue.
- As exposure but not F alters the Nrf2 pathway-related signaling molecules.
- Concurrent As and F exposure may produce a joint action on the toxicity of kidney.
Underground drinking water is commonly contaminated with arsenite (As) and fluoride (F) associated with chronic kidney diseases in humans; however, the combined renal toxicity of these pollutants and the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the interaction between As and F regarding toxic effects on the kidney of rat offspring exposed to pollutants during prenatal and postnatal development. Pregnant rats were randomly divided into four groups that received NaAsO2 (50?mg/L), NaF (100?mg/L), NaAsO2 (50?mg/L) and NaF (100?mg/L) in drinking water, or clean water, respectively, during gestation and lactation. After weaning, six male pups were randomly selected from each group and continued on the same treatment as their mothers for up to three months. The results revealed that subchronic exposure to high-dose As and/or F decreased the organ coefficient of the kidneys and disrupted kidney ultrastructure, moreover inhibited the activity of antioxidant enzymes and increased the generation of malondialdehyde in the kidney. As exposure alone or combined with F led to an upregulation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) and its regulatory targets (Ho-1, Gclc, and Nqo1), whereas the effect of F alone was not significant. These results suggest that the renal toxicity of As and F is associated with the induction of mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress, and alters the expression of Nrf2 and its regulatory targets. Furthermore, variance analysis results showed that an interaction between As and F in the toxicity process.