The objective of the present work was to evaluate the toxic effects of cobalt chloride, a potent oxidative stress-inducing chemical, at 650 ppm in rats and the protective effect of quercetin and/or vitamin C against the cobalt chloride-induced toxicity. Thirty rats were randomly selected, and assigned to one of five groups: control, cobalt chloride, cobalt chloride + quercetin, cobalt chloride + vitamin C and cobalt chloride + quercetin + vitamin C. The exposure of rats to cobalt chloride led to a significant increase (p < 0.05) in malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) generated, but decreased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. Also, significant (p < 0.05) reductions were observed in the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and reduced glutathione (GSH) content in the cardiac and renal tissues. Treatment with quercetin and vitamin C reversed the effect of cobalt chloride on MDA, H2O2 and NO, more potently than with either of the two antioxidants, and increased the antioxidant defence system. Further, treatment of rats with quercetin and vitamin C in combination resulted in significant (p < 0.05) decreases in the systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure of rats, relative to those exposed to cobalt chloride alone. Immunohistochemical studies revealed a greater expression of nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kB) in the cobalt chloride group compared with the control- and antioxidants-treated rats. The results of this study suggest a protective role for quercetin and vitamin C in the amelioration of the toxic mechanisms leading to cobalt chloride-induced hypertension and its associated cardiac and renal complications in rats.
Keywords: Cardiorenal dysfunctions; Cobalt chloride; Hypertension; Nuclear factor kappa beta; Oxidative stress.