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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1999 Feb 1;154(3):256-63.

Oxidative stress as a mechanism of chronic cadmium-induced hepatotoxicity and renal toxicity and protection by antioxidants.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Kingston, Rhode Island, 02881, USA.


The role of oxidative stress in chronic cadmium (Cd) toxicity and its prevention by cotreatment with antioxidants was investigated. Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were injected sc with 5 micromol CdCl2/kg/day, 5 times a week, for up to 22 weeks. Serum alanine amino transferase and lactate dehydrogenase activities were elevated after 9 weeks of Cd administration, indicating hepatic damage. Renal toxicity, indicated by elevation in urinary lactate dehydrogenase activity and protein, was also observed around this time. Chronic Cd administration resulted in a gradual rise in hepatic as well as renal cortex glutathione levels. In spite of this, lipid peroxidation increased in both tissues, particularly during the second half of the Cd exposure period. Depletion of glutathione following buthionine sulfoximine administration at the end of Week 5, or inhibition of catalase by aminotriazole at the end of Week 7, resulted in the development of acute nephrotoxicity within 6 h. Coadministration of antioxidants, N-acetylcysteine (50-100 mg/kg, sc), or vitamin E (100-150 mg/kg, sc) with Cd, starting from the early phases of Cd exposure, controlled Cd-induced lipid peroxidation and protected the animals against hepatic as well as renal toxicity. A Japanese hepatoprotective drug, Stronger Neo-Minophagen C, containing glycyrrhizin, glycine, and cysteine, was also effective in reducing the chronic Cd nephrotoxicity. In conclusion, oxidative stress appears to play a major role in chronic Cd-induced hepatic and renal toxicity since inhibition of components of the antioxidant defense system accelerated and administration of antioxidants protected against Cd toxicity.

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