The effect of phenylarsine oxide (PAO) on the internalization rate of epidermal growth factor (EGF) was investigated using perfused rat liver and isolated rat hepatocytes. In perfused liver, a tracer concentration of 125I-EGF alone or with excess unlabeled EGF (20 nM) was perfused and the internalization rate constants (kint) were measured. In the absence of PAO, kint values did not differ significantly for either dose condition. However, with the addition of PAO to the perfusate, the kint value dropped to 4% of that of the control at the low concentration of EGF, while dropping to only 40% of that of the control at the high concentration of EGF. These results suggest the existence of a PAO-insensitive internalization pathway having a kint value comparable with that of the other pathway. Similar EGF concentration-dependent inhibition of 125I-EGF internalization caused by PAO was ascertained using isolated rat hepatocytes. PAO also decreased the cellular ATP content in isolated hepatocytes. However, when we lowered the cellular ATP content with rotenone, the cell-surface binding and internalization of EGF were comparable with the control levels. We concluded that there exist dual pathways for the internalization of EGF and that excess doses of EGF lead to EGF internalization not only through a PAO-sensitive pathway but also through a PAO-insensitive pathway, whereas at a tracer dose of EGF, the internalization occurs mainly via the PAO-sensitive pathway.