Arsenic is a potent toxin, carcinogen and modulator of antioxidant defense system. In this study, male rats of Wistar strain, maintained on either 18% or 6% protein (casein) diet, received an acute i.p. exposure to sodium arsenite (As3+) at its LD50 dose (15.86 mg/kg body weight). One hour after the arsenic exposure, glutathione (GSH) concentration was significantly depleted and lipid peroxidation was increased. A relationship between any two of tissue arsenic concentrations, GSH levels and lipid peroxidation values was observed only for liver when the proportional changes of respective parameters in either of the dietary groups of animals were compared. This suggests that, in liver, arsenic metabolism appears dependant upon the GSH concentration. Acute arsenic exposure significantly increased the glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in liver of both dietary groups and in kidney of only the 18% protein-fed group of animals. The glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity significantly decreased in liver of the 18% protein-fed animals while GST increased in kidney of both the 18% and the 6% protein-fed groups. No significant change in glutathione reductase (GR) or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PDH) activity was observed. In the present investigation, liver as a whole seems to be more affected in terms of GSH level and GST activity. The mode of responses of GPx and GR activities as well as the unaltered G6PDH activity might result in arsenic-induced GSH depletion and increase in lipid peroxidation. The animals of the 6% protein-fed group, appeared to be affected less in terms of tissue arsenic concentration, lipid peroxidation, GSH level and GST activity.