Chelating effects of carnosine in ameliorating nickel-induced nephrotoxicity in rats

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017 Dec;95(12):1426-1432. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2016-0647. Epub 2017 Jul 4.


The kidney is one of the main organs affected by nickel toxicity. We investigated the protective effects of carnosine on nickel-induced oxidative stress in kidney of rats. Animals received NiSO4 (20 mg·kg-1·day-1 intragastrically) and (or) carnosine (10 mg·kg-1·day-1 intragastrically) for 21 days and then were evaluated for biochemical, molecular, and histopathological alterations. Nickel caused an increase in renal levels of malondialdehyde and a decrease in reduced glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase levels and total antioxidant capacity. Carnosine prevented the prooxidant and antioxidant imbalance induced by nickel. Nickel-treated rats showed an increase in serum creatinine, urea, and uric acid with a concomitant decrease in albumin. Nickel markedly accumulated in kidney of exposed rats, but its concentration was effectively reduced by carnosine treatment. Carnosine corrected the biochemical abnormalities and the elevated renal TNF-α and IL-6 levels in the nickel-treated group. It also attenuated nickel-induced abnormalities in renal architecture. Although carnosine showed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in renal tissue of nickel-exposed rats, we cannot clearly attribute the protective effect of carnosine to these effects. Instead, the beneficial effect of carnosine observed in the current study may be due to chelation between nickel and carnosine. Thus, carnosine may represent a therapeutic option to protect against nickel-induced nephrotoxicity that deserves further consideration and examination.

Keywords: carnosine; kidney; lipid peroxidation; nephroprotective; néphroprotecteur; oxidative stress; peroxydation lipidique; rein; stress oxydatif.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carnosine / pharmacology*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Nickel / metabolism
  • Nickel / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Nickel
  • Carnosine
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione