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Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Mar;65:321-8. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.12.038. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

The effect of activated charcoal on adenine-induced chronic renal failure in rats.

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Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
Department of Physiology, United Arab Emirates University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany. Electronic address:


Activated charcoal (AC) is a sorbent that has been shown to remove urinary toxins like urea and indoxyl sulfate. Here, the influence of AC on kidney function of rats with experimental chronic renal failure (CRF) is investigated. CRF was induced in rats by feeding adenine (0.75%) for four weeks. As an intervention, AC was added to the feed at concentrations of 10%, 15% or 20%. Adenine treatment impaired kidney function: it lowered creatinine clearance and increased plasma concentrations of creatinine, urea, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and vanin-1. Furthermore, it raised plasma concentrations of the uremic toxins indoxyl sulfate, phosphate and uric acid. Renal morphology was severely damaged and histopathological markers of inflammation and fibrosis were especially increased. In renal homogenates, antioxidant indices, including superoxide dismutase and catalase activity, total antioxidant capacity and reduced glutathione were adversely affected. Most of these changes were significantly ameliorated by dietary administration of AC at a concentration of 20%, while effects induced by lower doses of dietary AC on adenine nephrotoxicity were not statistically significant. The results suggest that charcoal is a useful sorbent agent in dietary adenine-induced CRF in rats and that its usability as a nephroprotective agent in human kidney disease should be studied.


Activated charcoal; Adenine; Chronic renal failure; Uremic toxins

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