In 2014 study published in the BioMed Research International journal it was shown that neem extract fed to rats helped reduce damage to renal tissue and oxidative stress after they were injected with cisplatin - a drug normally used in chemotherapy.
4 groups of rats were injected with cisplatin. This caused damage to renal tissue as evidenced by microscopic examination of kidney tissue. There was an increase in serum uric acid, urea, and creatinine, malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO). The level of glutathione and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were seen to be reduced. There was also an increase in the number of cells dying in kidney tissues and the expression of nuclear factor kappa B - a protein that causes inflammation.
Two groups of rats were given Neem leaves (Azadirachta indica) extract for 5 days before or after the cisplatin injections.
It was found that the administration of Neem extract before or after cisplatin injections significantly improved the kidney function. Nephrotoxicity was reduced and there was less histological damage in renal corpuscles and renal tubules. The Neem extract also attenuated malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) levels in kidney tissue.
After being injected with cisplatin the kidney's ability to scavenge toxic H2O2, O2−, and lipid peroxides is reduced causing a drop in
SOD, CAT, GPx, GST, and GR activities as well as decrement of GSH content. The Neem extract was able to restore these levels in the kidney tissues.
The study conjectured that the protective actions of Neem against cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in kidneys may be due to its flavonoids (rutin and quercetin, flavonoglycosides, polyphenolics, tannins). Neem flavonoids have the ability to scavenge free radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation. Moreover Neem leaves have polyphenols that are known for their potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging properties.
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