Onion and garlic extracts lessen cadmium-induced nephrotoxicity in rats

Biometals. 2008 Dec;21(6):623-33. doi: 10.1007/s10534-008-9148-5. Epub 2008 Jun 3.


Cadmium (Cd) is a well-known nephrotoxicant inducing kidney damage via oxidative stress. Since kidney is the critical target organ of Cd toxicity, this study was designed to evaluate the protective effects of onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) aqueous extracts on Cd-induced renal oxidative stress in male Wistar rats. The control group received double distilled water alone and Cd group was challenged with 3CdSO4 x 8H2O (as Cd) (1.5 mg/100 g bw/day per oral) alone. Extract-treated groups were pre-treated with varied doses (0.5 ml and 1.0 ml/100 g bw/day per oral) of onion and/or garlic extract for 1 week after which they were co-treated with Cd (1.5 mg/100 g bw/day per oral) for 3 weeks. The results showed that the levels of renal lipid peroxidation (LPO) and glutathione-S transferase (GST) were significantly (P < 0.001) increased in rats that received Cd alone relative to the control group. More so, the levels of renal glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and Na+/K+-ATPase were significantly (P < 0.001) decreased in rats that received Cd alone. Treatment of Cd-intoxicated rats with varied doses of onion and/or garlic extract significantly (P < 0.05) restored the alterations in these parameters relative to the group that received Cd alone. While treatment with high dose of onion extract exerted a significant dose-dependent restoration of these parameters, treatment with high dose of garlic elicited a pro-oxidant effect, relative to their respective low dose. Our study suggests that onion and garlic extracts may exert their protective effects via reduction in LPO and enhanced antioxidant defense. These extracts may, therefore, be useful nutritional option in alleviating Cd-induced renal damage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cadmium Compounds / toxicity*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Garlic / metabolism*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Onions / metabolism*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sulfates / toxicity*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Cadmium Compounds
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfates
  • Malondialdehyde
  • cadmium sulfate
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione