Introduction and objective:
Nephrotoxicity means failure of the excretory function of the kidney due to toxic effects of medication or chemicals. As available drugs are associated with some negative side-effects, it is expedient to look for natural remedies with fewer or no side-effects. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of Shea butter-rich diet on gentamicin induced nephrotoxicity in rats.

Material and methods:
Phytochemical analysis was carried out for various phytoconstituents on the Shea butter used for the study. Thirty (30) male white Wistar rats were divided into six groups with five rats in each group. Nephrotoxicity was induced by intraperitoneal administration of 80mg/kg body weight gentamicin for 7 days. Group 1 received only standard rat chow and water. Group 2 received 80mg/kg body weight gentamicin for 7 days, followed by standard rat chow and water only for 14 days. Group 3 received 80mg/kg body weight gentamicin for 7 day, followed by 20mg/kg body weight furosemide for 14 days. Groups 4, 5 and 6 received 80mg/kg body weight gentamicin for 7 days, followed by varied concentrations of 10, 20 and 30% shea butter rich diet and water for 14 days. After the last dose, blood samples were collected and analyzed for serum urea, creatinine and electrolytes.

Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of saponin, phenol, tannin, alkaloid, terpenoid, flavonoid, and reducing sugar. Induction of nephrotoxicity was marked by elevated levels of serum urea, creatinine and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate ions). Administration of the Shea butter-rich diet, however, significantly decreased their levels in a dose dependent manner.

Results of the study showed that Shea butter rich diet was effective in ameliorating gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in rats.

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