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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51889. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051889. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Histological changes in kidney and liver of rats due to gold (III) compound [Au(en)Cl(2)]Cl.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Dammam & King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia.



Development of novel metallodrugs with enhanced anti-proliferative potential and reduced toxicity has become the prime focus of the evolving medicinal chemistry. In this regards, gold (III) complexes with various ligands are being extensively investigated. In the current study renal and hepatic toxicity of a newly developed gold (III) compound [Au(en)Cl(2)]Cl was assessed by histopathological evaluation of liver and kidney specimens of rats exposed to the compound.


Male rats (n = 42) weighing 200-250 gram were injected single, varying doses of gold (III) compound [(dichlorido(ethylenediamine)aurate((III)]chloride [Au(en)Cl(2)]Cl in the acute toxicity component of the study. In the sub-acute toxicity part, a dose of 32.2 mg/kg (equivalent to 1/10 of LD50) was administered intraperitoneally for 14 consecutive days before sacrificing the animals. After autopsy, the renal and hepatic tissues were preserved in buffered formalin. Processing of the samples was followed by histopathological evaluation. The results were compared with the normal controls (n = 11).


A dose of 32.2 mg/kg (1/10 of LD(50)) revealed no renal tubular necrosis. The predominant histopathological finding was mild pyelitis, a prominence of eosinophils and mild congestion. The hepatic lesions comprised varying extents of ballooning degeneration with accompanying congestion and focal portal inflammation.


Gold (III) compound [Au(en)Cl(2)]Cl causes minimal histological changes in kidney and liver of rats, reflecting its relative safety as compared to other clinically established antineoplastic drugs.

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