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Thymoquinone reduces kidney damage in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice fed a high-cholesterol diet

Pei, Zuowei, Zhu, Liyue, Liu, Yingshu, Li, Nan, Yang, Guang, Liu, Hongyang
RSC advances 2017 v.7 no.83 pp. 53002-53009
Nigella sativa, active ingredients, anti-inflammatory activity, cholesterol, cytokines, genes, high fat diet, hypercholesterolemia, kidney diseases, kidneys, low density lipoprotein, macrophages, males, mice, oxidation, protective effect, protein synthesis, quinones, rats, risk factors, seeds, staining, therapeutics, tissues
Hypercholesterolemia is a well-established risk factor for kidney injury that can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Thymoquinone (TQ) is one of the most active ingredients in Nigella Sativa seeds. It has a variety of beneficial properties including anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities. TQ exerts positive effects on DOX-induced nephropathy and ischaemia-reperfusion induced kidney injury in rats. The goal of this study was to investigate the possible protective effects of thymoquinone against kidney injury in apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE⁻/⁻) mice. Eight-week-old male ApoE⁻/⁻ mice were randomly divided into the following 3 groups: a control group fed a normal diet (ND group), a group fed a high-cholesterol diet (HD group) and a group fed HD mixed with thymoquinone (HD + TQ group). All groups were given the diet for 8 weeks. Metabolic characteristics including total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) were lower in ApoE⁻/⁻ HD + TQ mice than in ApoE⁻/⁻ HD mice. Oil-red O staining revealed excessive lipid deposition in the kidneys of ApoE⁻/⁻ HD mice; however, it was significantly suppressed in the ApoE⁻/⁻ HD + TQ mice. Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) gene and protein expression was lower in the kidney tissues of ApoE⁻/⁻ HD + TQ mice than those of ApoE⁻/⁻ HD mice. Furthermore, macrophages and pro-inflammatory cytokines were lower in the kidney tissues of ApoE⁻/⁻ HD + TQ mice than in the ApoE⁻/⁻ HD mice. These results indicate that thymoquinone may be a potential therapeutic agent for kidney damage from hypercholesterolemia.