Acetaminophen (also called paracetamol, or APAP) causes acute kidney injury after accidental or intentional ingestion of a toxic dose of the drug. We tested whether the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, quercetin (QUR) given alone can protect against acute nephrotoxicity induced by APAP overdose in a rat model of APAP-induced acute kidney injury. Rats were either given a single dose of APAP (2 g/kg) before being sacrificed after 24 hours or were pre-treated for 7 days with QUR (50 mg/kg) before being given a single dose of APAP and then sacrificed 24 hours post APAP ingestion. Kidneys were examined by light microscopy after staining with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and collected blood samples were assayed for biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and kidney injury. H&E stained sections of kidney from the model group of rats (APAP) showed substantial damage to the kidney architecture as demonstrated by widening of Bowman’s space, tubular dilatation, vacuolization of tubular epithelium, and congested dilated blood vessels, which were partially protected by QUR. In addition, APAP significantly (p<0.05) increased blood levels of urea, creatinine, malondialdehyde (MDA), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a), and interleukin-6 (IL-6), which were significantly (p<0.05) reduced by QUR. These results indicate that quercetin partially protects against APAP-induced acute kidney injury in rats, which is associated with the inhibition of biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation and kidney injury.
KEY WORDS: Acute nephrotoxicity; Acetaminophen; Quercetin; Rat model.