The possible protective effect of Nigella sativa seeds on cisplatin-induced acute nephrotoxicity in the rat renal cortex (Histological and Electron Microscopic study)

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Cisplatin is one of the most effective chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of various tumors. However, cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity is one of the serious side effects in humans.

Aim of the work

The aim of this study was to clarify the possible protective effect of Nigella sativa seeds on cisplatin-induced acute nephrotoxicity.

Materials and methods

A total of 24 male albino rats were used. The rats were divided into four groups: group I was the control group; group II received N. sativa seeds; group III received cisplatin through intraperitoneal injection as a single dose; and group IV received N. sativa seeds orally 3 days before, concomitant with, and 5 days after cisplatin. At the end of the experiment, blood samples were collected for the estimation of serum creatinine and malondialdehyde. Renal specimens were processed for light and electron microscopic examination.


Light microscopic examination of renal cortical sections from group III showed areas with interstitial hemorrhage. Areas with destruction and loss of tubules were detected. Other areas revealed tubules with desquamated cells. Some cells revealed vacuolated cytoplasm and pyknotic nuclei. Partial or complete loss of the brush border of some tubules was seen. Some glomeruli appeared collapsed and others with thickening of the basement membranes. There was a statistically significantly increased deposition of collagen fibers between the cortical tubules. Ultrastructural examination showed variable degrees of affection of tubular cells, including loss of apical microvilli and loss of basal enfoldings of the basement membrane. Few scattered mitochondria were distributed in more electron lucent cytoplasm. There was thickening of the basement membrane of the parietal layer of the renal corpuscle and of the glomerular capillaries. Group IV rats showed attenuated cisplatin-induced renal cortical changes and improved biochemical data.


N. sativa seeds provided an ameliorative effect on acute cisplatin-induced renal cortical toxicity and it could be recommended as an adjuvant therapy for patients treated with cisplatin.

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