Arsenic trioxide (ATO)-induced renal toxicity through oxidative stress and apoptosis restricts the therapeutic action of acute myelogenous leukemia. Crocetin (Crt) possesses antioxidant and antiapoptosis properties, and has certain renal protective effects, but it has not been reported that it has protective effect on renal injury caused by ATO. The current study explored the effects and mechanisms of Crt on kidney damage induced by ATO. Fifty Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into five groups. Adult rats were given Crt concurrently with ATO for 1 week. On the 8th day, rats were killed and blood and kidney tissues were collected. Histopathological changes were measured, and kidneytissues and serum were used to determine renal function and antioxidant enzyme activity. In addition, the protein expression levels of P-PI3K, PI3K, P-AKT, AKT, CytC, Bax, Bcl-2 and Caspase-3 were determined via western blot analysis. Results revealed ATO induced renal morphological alterations and activated serum BUN and CRE. Compared with the control group, ROS, MDA, IL-1β, TNF-α, protein carbonyls (PC), lipid hydroperoxides (LOOH) and arsenic concentration levels were found to be significantly increased and SOD, CAT, GSH-Px, GSH and total sulphydryl groups (TSH) levels were attenuated in the ATO group. Crt markedly reduced oxidative stress in ATO-induced nephrotoxicity. Further, ATO induced apoptosis by significantly enhancing CytC, Bax and Caspase-3 and inhibiting Bcl-2. Administration with Crt markedly improved the expression of apoptosis factor. Moreover, Crt treatment stimulated the expressions of P-PI3K, PI3K, P-AKT, AKT induced by ATO. This study indicates Crt could prevent renal injury caused by ATO through inhibiting oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis, and its mechanism may be related to activation of PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
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