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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 138-142

Protective effect of garlic juice on renal function and lipid profile in rats fed with high-fat diet

Department of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission02-Jan-2021
Date of Decision23-Feb-2021
Date of Acceptance07-Mar-2021
Date of Web Publication16-Aug-2021

Correspondence Address:
Hadeel A Alsufyani
Department of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_2_21

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Background: Hyperlipidemia is one of the most challenging clinical disorders and is known to be a causative factor in a number of related conditions. Garlic has traditionally been used to lower serum lipids in hyperlipidemia patients. The present study evaluates the renoprotective role of garlic against induced changes in rat kidneys as a result of a high-fat diet (HFD). Materials and Methods: Twenty adult male Wistar rats were arranged into 4 groups: Group 1 (control) were fed a normal rat diet; Group 2 were fed an HFD (butter in a dose of 20g/100g food); Group 3 were fed fresh garlic juice (GJ) in their diet (6g/100g food); and Group 4 were fed with butter and GJ in their diet (HFD + GJ). The experimental period was 8 weeks. Serum lipid profiles and renal function tests were carried out and evaluated. Results: The HFD significantly increased body weight, total serum cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), uric acid, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and decreased total protein and albumin, as compared to the control. In the HFD + GJ group, normal body weight was restored; serum levels of total cholesterol, creatinine, BUN, and albumin were similar to the control, and serum levels of triglyceride, LDL-C, uric acid, and total protein were partially restored to the levels of the control. Conclusions: The incorporation of GJ into an HFD resulted in improved lipid profile and kidney function. Hence, the consumption of GJ may be a useful supplement for renal protection in hyperlipidemic patients.

Keywords: Garlic juice, high-fat diet, lipid profile, renal function test

How to cite this article:
Alsufyani HA, Zawawi BM. Protective effect of garlic juice on renal function and lipid profile in rats fed with high-fat diet. Saudi J Health Sci 2021;10:138-42

How to cite this URL:
Alsufyani HA, Zawawi BM. Protective effect of garlic juice on renal function and lipid profile in rats fed with high-fat diet. Saudi J Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Mar 22];10:138-42. Available from: https://www.saudijhealthsci.org/text.asp?2021/10/2/138/323873

  Introduction Top

Obesity is a public health concern for nonindustrialized and industrialized countries, being associated with an overall decline in population life expectancy. It is generally understood that its prevalence relates, inter alia, to environmental factors, such as physical level and diet. In recent years, with increased industrialization and modern lifestyles in many parts of the world, diets high in carbohydrates and fat are more common. These aspects interact with genetic factors, which may explain increase body fat all over the world.[1] Hyperlipidemia has a significant impact on vital organs, including the kidneys.[2] A high-fat diet (HFD) can cause alteration in renal lipid metabolism as a result of an imbalance between lipolysis and lipogenesis in the kidneys, metabolic abnormalities, renal lipid accumulation, and kidney damage.[3],[4] An HFD has traditionally been known to be associated with renal dysfunction and was proposed in an early hypothesis to outline lipid nephrotoxicity, where it was shown that dyslipidemia is associated with renal disease progression.[5]

Drugs to control hyperlipidemia usually exert side effects,[6] and some natural products have been shown to be useful supplements for lowering blood lipids.[7] Garlic (Allium sativum) is one of most commonly used herbal products and has been incorporated in clinical and experimental fields for the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, and cancer. In particular, it has a pronounced medicinal effect in alleviating hypertension and hyperlipidemia.[8] Regular garlic intake is reported to reduce cholesterol levels and militate against cardiovascular disease risk factors.[9]

The objective of this experimental research was to study the biochemical changes induced by an HFD on renal function in rats and to evaluate the potential efficacy of oral administration of garlic juice (GJ) for 8 weeks to ameliorate biochemical changes.

  Materials and Methods Top


The HFD consisted of saturated fat, using commercial butter in dose of 20 g/100 g mixed with a standard daily rat diet and repelletted.[10] Fresh garlic was obtained from a local market. The garlic was crushed and made into juice using an electric blender and given orally in a dose of 6g/100 g (6%) within the daily diet.[11]

Animals and experimental design


Twenty-four adult male Wistar rats were obtained from King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, weighing 180–210 g and aged 2–3 months. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the Ethics Committee of King Abdulaziz University. The research was carried out in accordance with the International Guidelines for Experimental Animal Usage. Rats were randomized into separate groups (n = 6) and observed for 1 week to check acclimatization to the laboratory environment and to assess any abnormalities in the controlled temperature (22°C –24°C) and 12 h light–dark cycle. During this period, the rats were allowed continuous access to standard rat food and water.

Experimental design

Rats were randomly divided into four groups: Group 1 (control) was given a normal rat diet; Group 2 was fed an HFD of saturated fat (butter in a dose of 20 g/100 g: 20% of full diet); Group 3 had GJ added to their diet; Group 4 received both an HFD and GJ (HFD + GJ), with butter and GJ added to the diet. The experimental period lasted 8 weeks. The total body weights were measured at the start and end of the study period using digital weighing scales.

At the end of experimental period, the rats were not given food for 12 h overnight. In preparation for retro-orbital sample collections, the rats were anesthetized with intraperitoneal injection of pentobarbital sodium (50 mg/kg) and a collecting tube was inserted into the medial canthus of the eye; blood samples were then obtained from the retro-orbital veins in plain tubes. Animals were immediately sacrificed by cervical dislocation. The blood was centrifuged at 11,000 cycles/min (cpm) for 15 min. Serum was obtained in aliquots and stored at −20°C until used for biochemical analysis. Serum levels of the lipid profile parameters, comprising total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and the kidney function test parameters, comprising urea, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), total proteins, and albumin were evaluated using routine laboratory methods.

Statistical analysis

The data were expressed as mean and standard deviation and were analyzed using GraphPad Prism (GraphPad Software, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA). Statistical comparisons between groups were made by one-way analysis of variance and where the F-test showed P < 0.05, comparison between groups was carried out using the Tukey's test.

  Results Top

There was no significant difference in initial total body weights between the groups at the start of the experiments. However, after 8 weeks, the final total body weights were significantly higher in HFD group compared to the control, the GJ, and the HFD + GJ groups [Table 1]. There were no differences in body weight between the other groups [Table 1].
Table 1: Comparison between initial and final body weights in the study groups

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The use of GJ alone appeared not significantly alter any of the measured serum parameters, compared to controls [Table 2]. HFD significantly increased body weight, increased serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-C, uric acid, creatinine, and BUN, and decreased total protein and albumin, compared to controls [Table 1] and [Table 2]. In the HFD+GJ group, at the end of the study, body weight was not significantly different from that in controls [Table 1], and serum levels of total cholesterol, creatinine, BUN, and albumin were similar to the control, and serum levels of triglyceride, LDL-C, and uric acid were only partially restored to the levels of the control [Table 2]. In the HFD+GJ group, triglyceride, LDL-C, and uric acid levels were significantly lower than in the HFD group but still significantly above the levels of the control group [Table 2]. In the HFD+GJ group, serum levels of total protein were still significantly reduced compared to the control but were between the lower levels found in the HFD group and the higher levels in the control and GJ groups [Table 2].
Table 2: Comparison between kidney function profile in the study groups

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  Discussion Top

This experimental research was designed to investigate possible renoprotective effects of fresh GJ orally administrated for 8 weeks in the context of HFD-induced biochemical changes in rat kidneys.

The results show that final body weight in the HFD group was significantly increased compared with the control group. This corresponds with a number of previous studies[12],[13],[14] which showed that 3-week-old female rats fed an HFD, significantly increased body weight at 7 weeks of age when compared to a control, and not owing to overfeeding, but to excess calorie intake. In the present study, GJ alone did not affect normal gain of body weight, and the final bodyweight of the GJ group was not significantly different from that of the control group. In the HFD+GJ group, GJ returned the final body weight to that of the control group. A possible explanation for this finding is the effect of garlic in normalizing lipid profile and body fat content.

Serum levels of total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL-C were significantly higher in the HFD group than in the control group. In the HFD+GJ group, serum levels of total cholesterol were not significantly higher than levels in the control group, but slightly higher than the levels in the GJ group. Serum levels of triglyceride and LDL-C in the HFD+GJ group were significantly lower than in the HFD group but higher than in the control and GJ groups. Hence, in rats fed an HFD, GJ restored normal total cholesterol and partially restored triglyceride and LDL-C levels. GJ alone did not affect body weight, or any of the measured serum parameters compared to controls; hence, the conclusion that garlic was well tolerated can be drawn.

Yang et al.[15] found that garlic oil (93 mg/kg/day) significantly reduced total cholesterol but not triglycerides or LDL-C in rats fed an HFD. In Kagawa et al.,[16] garlic oil reduced body weight gain in HFD rats by increasing fat oxidation and energy expenditure. Furthermore, garlic oil reduced weight gain to normal levels in HFD mice, restored triglycerides, and partially restored total cholesterol levels; these actions were mimicked by diallyl disulfide, a major organosulfur compound in garlic.[17] In humans, aged garlic has been shown to lower total plasma cholesterol and LDL-C.[18] Many studies have demonstrated that the lipid-lowering mechanisms of fresh garlic involve many gene factors, such as AMP-activated protein kinase, and enzymes, such as fatty acid synthase and acyl-CoA cholesterol acyltransferase.[19]

Regarding renal function, the results show that an HFD significantly increased serum levels of uric acid, creatinine, and BUN and significantly decreased total protein and albumin levels, compared to the control group. In the HFD+GJ group, serum levels of BUN, creatinine, and albumin were not significantly different from levels in the control group. Levels of uric acid in the HFD+GJ group were improved but still significantly higher than in controls, and while total protein levels improved, they remained not significantly different from that in the HFD group. Thus, in rats fed an HFD, GJ restored normal serum levels of BUN, creatinine, and albumin, and partially restored levels of uric acid; it also improved the total protein level. GJ restored or partially restored indicators of nephrotoxicity to normal. It has also been shown that garlic extract can reduce the renal toxicity of gentamicin in rats and that the combination of garlic extract with metformin totally prevented any renal toxicity of gentamicin.[20]

In middle-aged and elderly adults, a diet that is rich in saturated fats is directly associated with albuminuria, as saturated fat administration increases inflammatory biomarkers.[21] Low serum albumin is linked to low serum calcium levels. It has been shown that HFD-fed rats had some loss of bone calcium and observed calcium phosphate nephrocalcinosis.[22] Furthermore, it has been observed that women with a high lean mass index generally have better bone mineral density.[23] It has been found that reperfusion increased serum urea and decreased creatinine clearance and urinary potassium in humans, but treatment with GJ improved these parameters.[24] In rats, NaNO2 treatment for 3 months led to a significant increase in serum creatinine and urea, a significant increase in renal urea, creatinine levels, and lipid peroxidation, and decreased renal glutathione content and catalase activity, but garlic oil supplementation ameliorated these abnormalities.[25] Garlic is a phytoantioxidant, with strong chemoprotective properties against chemically-induced oxidative stress.

There are a number of conflicting findings regarding the impact of hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia on renal function and structure. Studies in dogs show that after 5 weeks on an HFD, there was a 30% elevation in glomerular filtration relative to baseline, and after 9 weeks on an HFD, expansion of Bowman's capsule and increased mesangial matrix.[26] These were associated with an increased expression of transforming growth factor β-1 (TGFβ-1) in glomeruli and an increase in glycosaminoglycan concentration in tubular basement membranes. Decreased glomerular filtration rate and increased markers of renal fibrosis were reported in female rats fed on an HFD.[13] An HFD causes renal injury in rats that are preceded by endothelial dysfunction and hypertension, both induced by increased oxidative stress, strong inflammatory responses, and disruption of the renal filtration barrier.[27] It has been found that enhanced TGFβ-1 results in elevation of fibronectin and type I collagen expression.[14] Chronic administration of dietetic lipid can change renal cortical structure in rats.[28],[29] A significant association has been reported between HFD administration and kidney structural changes, such as glomerular and tubules necrosis and atrophy, and a thickening of the glomerular basal membrane.[30] These renal structural changes can cause renal function changes as reported in this study.

In the present study, freshly prepared GJ was found to ameliorate changes induced by an HFD in rat kidney function. Renoprotection against an HFD-induced change may be the result of controlling of lipid profile parameters[13] and suppression of oxidative stress.[31]

In summary, HFD significantly increased body weight, increased serum lipids, and altered kidney function. In the HFD+GJ group, GJ restored normal body weight and improved the lipid profile and kidney function.

  Conclusions Top

Fresh GJ was found to ameliorate changes in renal function induced by an HFD in rat kidneys. GJ may be considered a suitable supplement for hyperlipidemic patients.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2]

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