The toxicity of lead (Pb) to the kidney amongst other organs is not in doubt, in that various devices and interventions, aimed at mitigating its toxic effect, have also been described. Effect of lycopene (the active constituent of tomatoes) as a natural antioxidant in modulating Pb toxicity and its attendant reduction of reduced glutathione (GSH) levels inPb poisoned kidney tissue of Wister rats is the main focus of this work. Blood lead concentration and GSH activity were investigated using standard laboratory methods on blood and homogenised kidney tissue of Wister rats, respectively. Expectedly, rats with induced lead poisoning (positive control group) showed significantly high blood Pb level (23±2.1 µg/dl), relative to the negative control (10.7±0.92 µg/dl) (p<0.05). Although there was no significant decrease in mean blood Pb concentration levels between test group and positive control rats (22±2.1 µg/dl versus 23±2.1 µg/dl, respectively; p>0.05), following tomato supplementation, the mean activity of reduced GSH in experimental rats was found to be 8.2±0.57 µM relative to that of the control (5.9±2.1 µM). This difference was found to be significant (p<0.05). This experimental work strongly suggest the use of lycopene-rich tomatoes as regular diets to improve reduced glutathione activity especially in subjects occupationally exposed to lead as an intervention mechanism against Pb nephrotoxicity.
Key words: Lycopene, nephrotoxicity, antioxidant, lead toxicity and lead acetate.
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