Comparative nephrotoxicity of aristolochic acid and tetrandrine in vitro and in vivo

Sheau Yun Yuan, Chi Rei Yang, Chen Li Cheng, Shih Lan Hsu, Jiunn Wang Liao, Chi Chen Lin, Ying Yi Chou, Ya Wen Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Aristolochic acid (AA) and tetrandrine (TET) are the major bioactive components in Chinese herbs used for weight loss. The nephropathy caused by the 2 Chinese herbs has not been simultaneously investigated. The aim of this study was to examine the potential nephrotoxicity of AA and TET using Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells and mice. The results showed that TET was more potent than AA in inhibiting MDCK cell growth via inducing apoptosis, as determined by annexin-V staining, 4′, 6′-diamino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining, DNA fragmentation, and caspase 3 activity. Mice treated with AA (10 mg/kg) by intraperitoneal administration for 3 months showed nephrotoxicity, elevated blood urea nitrogen, and increased renal tubular injuries. In contrast, mice treated with 50 mg/kg of TET in the same time period had moderate hydropic degeneration of the distal tubules in the kidneys. These results suggest that TET is more cytotoxic than AA in MDCK cells but shows less nephrotoxic than AA in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chinese-herb nephropathy (CHN)
  • MDCK cells
  • aristolochic acid (AA)
  • mice
  • tetrandrine (TET)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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