Kidney Protection from Antibiotic Damage with Herbal Extract

Greg Howard
9th April, 2024

Kidney Protection from Antibiotic Damage with Herbal Extract

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a South Korean study, GEB, a medicinal herb, was tested for kidney protection against VAN-induced damage
  • Rats treated with GEB showed lower levels of kidney damage markers than those only given VAN
  • GEB's protective effects include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cell death actions
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a serious condition that affects many hospitalized patients, characterized by a rapid decline in kidney function. This can lead to numerous complications, such as fluid buildup, electrolyte imbalances, and increased susceptibility to drugs' toxic effects. In severe cases, kidney replacement therapy may be necessary, though the mortality rate for such patients remains high, at around 50%[2]. One of the drugs known to induce AKI is vancomycin (VAN), a powerful antibiotic used to treat gram-positive bacterial infections, including those resistant to other antibiotics. Unfortunately, VAN can cause nephrotoxicity, which is a toxic effect on the kidneys, leading to an increase in blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine levels, markers of kidney damage[3]. Researchers from Eulji University have taken a significant step forward in addressing this issue. In a recent study[1], they explored the potential of Gastrodia elata Blume (GEB), a traditional medicinal herb, for protecting against VAN-induced nephrotoxicity. Their findings could provide a new avenue for preventing kidney damage in patients undergoing VAN treatment. The study involved dividing male Sprague-Dawley rats into three groups: a control group, a VAN group that received the antibiotic, and a GEB group treated with both VAN and the herbal extract. Over a period of 14 days, the researchers monitored the effects of GEB on kidney health by looking at various biochemical markers and physiological responses. Previous research has shown that antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid (CA) and curcumin (CUR) can mitigate VAN-induced nephrotoxicity by combating oxidative stress and inflammation, and by preserving the activity of antioxidant enzymes[3][4]. Oxidative stress is a condition where there is an imbalance between free radicals, which can damage cells, and antioxidants, which neutralize them. The Eulji University study builds on these findings by examining whether GEB can provide similar protective effects. The study's results were promising. Rats in the GEB group showed lower levels of the markers indicating kidney damage compared to the VAN group. This suggests that GEB has the capacity to shield the kidneys from the harmful effects of VAN. The protective mechanisms appeared to be multifaceted, involving anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic (preventing cell death) actions. In terms of anti-oxidative action, GEB seemed to boost the activity of enzymes like glutathione peroxidase and catalase, which are vital in protecting cells from oxidative damage. This is similar to the effects observed with CA and CUR in earlier studies, where these compounds increased the levels of reduced glutathione and other antioxidant enzymes that had been depleted by VAN[3][4]. Furthermore, the GEB extract appeared to exert anti-inflammatory effects, which is crucial because inflammation can exacerbate kidney damage. The study found that GEB could inhibit the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, resembling the way CA was observed to counteract the inflammatory effects of VAN by inhibiting certain signaling pathways[3]. Lastly, the anti-apoptotic effects of GEB suggest that it can help prevent programmed cell death, which is a process that can be triggered by excessive stress or damage to the cell. This is particularly relevant given that both CA and CUR were previously found to down-regulate apoptotic markers in the context of VAN-induced nephrotoxicity[3][4]. In conclusion, the study by Eulji University provides new insights into the potential kidney-protective properties of GEB, especially in the context of VAN-induced nephrotoxicity. By demonstrating the herb's anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects, the research builds on earlier studies[2][3][4] and presents an alternative strategy for safeguarding kidney function in patients requiring VAN therapy. This could have significant implications for clinical practice, as it offers a possible means to reduce the incidence of AKI in a hospital setting, thereby potentially improving patient outcomes.



Main Study

1) The preventive effect of Gastrodia elata Blume extract on vancomycin-induced acute kidney injury in rats

Published 8th April, 2024

Related Studies

3) Chlorogenic acid prevents vancomycin-induced nephrotoxicity without compromising vancomycin antibacterial properties.

4) Protective role of curcumin in nephrotoxic oxidative damage induced by vancomycin in rats.

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