Histological, ultrastructural and biochemical studies on the kidney of mice treated with Carthamus tinctorius L. extract

Document Type : Original Research Article


Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Para-Veterinary Medicine, University of Ilam, Ilam, I. R. Iran


Objective: Carthamus tinctorius L.(C. tinctorius) is used as a food additive but also has medicinal applications. The present work was designed to investigate its probable side effects on the histology and function of the kidney in the mice.
Materials and Methods: Sixty adult Balb/C mice were randomly distributed into one control and three experimental groups. The control group received only distilled water, while experimental groups were administered intraperitoneally C. tinctorius at doses of 0.7, 1.4, and 2.8 mg/kg for 49 consecutive days. In the end of experiments after blood sampling, the biochemical analyses of plasma were performed. Tissue samples were also taken and structural alterations were examined using light and electron microscopes.
Results: There were histological changes included decreasing in the diameter of glomerules, increase of proximal tubular lumen, tubular necrosis, leuckocyte infiltration, and massive congestion in the kidney of the 1.4 and 2.8 mg/kg C. tinctorius groups. Moreover, ultrastructural study revealed destruction of the glomerular basement membrane, shrinkage of podocyte΄s nucleus, and reduction in the number and size of microvilli in epithelial cells of renal tubules. Furthermore, the levels of creatinine in the plasma of 1.4 and 2.8 mg/kg C. tinctorius groups showed a significant increase in comparison with the control group (p<0.05).
Conclusion: It is concluded that C. tinctorius extract exposure at doses of 1.4 and 2.8 mg/kg has harmful effects on the renal tissue and therefore, popular consumption of this plant should be reconsidered.


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