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Renal Cortical Structural Alterations in Atorvastatin-treated Rats and the Possible Protective Mechanisms of L-Carnitine

Author(s): Sahar Youssef* and Marwa Salah1
Anatomy Department, Faculty of Medicine for Girls, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, 1Zoology Department, Faculty of Science, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Anatomy Department, Faculty of Medicine for Girls, Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt, E-mail:

The present study investigated the structural changes in rat kidney following administration of atorvastatin and evaluated the possible protective role of L-carnitine. Rats were divided into four groups, group I- control group, group II received L-carnitine at 100 mg/kg/d, group III received atorvastatin at 80 mg/kg/d and group IV received atorvastatin plus L-carnitine. Hematoxylin and Eosin, periodic acid-Schiff, inducible nitric oxide synthase, proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression and electron microscopy investigation were performed. Light microscopy results of atorvastatin group showed severe atrophic glomeruli with widened glomerular spaces. Some renal tubules showed cytoplasmic vacuolations, loss of brush borders, hemorrhage and mild congested blood capillaries. Strong positive inducible nitric oxide synthase and proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunostaining in the tubules were observed. Ultrastructurally, the proximal convoluted tubules had small electron dense nuclei, numerous lysosomes, partial loss of microvilli and vacuolations. The podocytes revealed united foot processes and increase in the thickness of the glomerular basement membrane. L-carnitine preserved the structure of renal cortex, decreased inducible nitric oxide synthase and increased proliferating cell nuclear antigen reaction. In conclusion, atorvastatin exerted a deleterious effect and L-carnitine improved most of the histological changes produced by atorvastatin.

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