The ability of chromium (Cr) salts to increase metallothionein (MT) levels in rat liver, kidney and pancreas, and its relationship with the presence of toxic effects are reported here. Rats were injected subcutaneously with 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 mg K2Cr2O7/kg and sacrificed 24 h later. Total Cr accumulation followed a dose-dependent pattern, levels in kidney being higher than those in liver or pancreas, suggesting different tissue bioavailabilities and accumulation patterns. Cr(IV) administration resulted in a tissue-specific MT induction: pancreas and liver showed five- and 3.5-fold MT increases, respectively; no increase was observed in the kidney. A positive correlation was observed between zinc and MT concentrations in liver, and between total Cr and MT concentrations in pancreas. Serum alpha-amylase activity showed a dose-dependent increase starting from 20 mg/kg, whereas serum glucose levels increased at doses higher than 30 mg/kg. Serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase activities were increased in a dose-dependent manner, from 20 and 30 mg/kg, respectively. Our results showed that treatment with Cr(VI) can induce MT synthesis in pancreas and suggests a subsequent binding of Cr to MT. Also, pancreas is a target organ for Cr toxicity, and the usefulness of alpha-amylase activity as a sensitive biomarker of Cr toxicity in human exposed populations merits further study.