We aimed to investigate the protective effect of alpha lipoic acid (ALA), a powerful antioxidant, against oxidative kidney damage induced by iron overload in rats. Male Wistar albino rats were separated into groups: control (n = 7), ALA (100 mg/kg (n = 7), iron sucrose (IS) (40 mg/kg) (n = 7), and IS + ALA (40 mg/kg IS administration followed by 100 mg/kg ALA) (n = 7). IS and ALA were injected weekly for 4 weeks via the tail vein. Blood and kidneys were collected at sacrification on day 29. Serum creatinine and iron levels were analyzed. Tubular injury and iron deposits were evaluated histopathologically. Additionally, iron, malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione (GSH) levels and mRNA expressions of the subunits of NADPH oxidase, known as NOX4 and p22phox, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1), and also p38 MAPK signaling in the kidneys, were evaluated biochemically. In the IS group, serum creatinine and iron level, tubular dilation, and loss of brush border in the kidneys were significantly higher than those of the control. Although those changes were reduced by ALA, the differences were not statistically significant. However, ALA reduced significantly MDA level and increased SOD activity in the kidney during IS administration. ALA also significantly reduced mRNA expressions of NOX4 and p22phox induced by IS, which was parallel to significant decreases of TNF-α and KIM-1 mRNA expressions. Moreover, ALA could suppress the activation of p38 MAPK during IS administration. In conclusion, ALA may be an effective strategy to attenuate in IS-induced oxidative kidney injury.
Keywords: Alpha lipoic acid; Iron; Kidney; NOX4; Oxidative stress; p38 MAPK.