Antioxidant and Polyphenol-Rich Ethanolic Extract of Rubia tinctorum L. Prevents Urolithiasis in an Ethylene Glycol Experimental Model in Rats.


Marhoume FZ(1)(2), Aboufatima R(3), Zaid Y(4)(5)(6), Limami Y(4)(6), Duval RE(7), Laadraoui J(2), Belbachir A(8)(9), Chait A(2), Bagri A(1).
Author information:
(1)Laboratory of Biochemistry and Neuroscience, Integrative and Computational Neuroscience Team, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Hassan First University, Settat 26002, Morocco.
(2)Laboratory of Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Behavior, Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Cadi Ayad University, Marrakech 40000, Morocco.
(3)Laboratory of Biological Engineering, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Beni Mellal 23000, Morocco.
(4)Research Center of Abulcasis University of Health Sciences, Rabat 10000, Morocco.
(5)Botany Laboratory, Biology Department, Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Rabat 10000, Morocco.
(6)Immunology and Biodiversity Laboratory, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Hassan II University, Casablanca 20000, Morocco.
(7)Université de Lorraine, CNRS, L2CM, F-54000 Nancy, France.
(8)Morpho-Science Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cadi Ayad University, Marrakech 40000, Morocco.
(9)Regenerative Medicine Center University Hospital Center of Mohammed VI Marrakech, Marrakech 40000, Morocco.


Treatment of kidney stones is based on symptomatic medications which are associated with side effects such as gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting) and hepatotoxicity. The search for effective plant extracts without the above side effects has demonstrated the involvement of antioxidants in the treatment of kidney stones. A local survey in Morocco has previously revealed the frequent use of Rubia tinctorum L. (RT) for the treatment of kidney stones. In this study, we first explored whether RT ethanolic (E-RT) and ethyl acetate (EA-RT) extracts of Rubia tinctorum L. could prevent the occurrence of urolithiasis in an experimental 0.75% ethylene glycol (EG) and 2% ammonium chloride (AC)-induced rat model. Secondly, we determined the potential antioxidant potency as well as the polyphenol composition of these extracts. An EG/AC regimen for 10 days induced the formation of bipyramid-shaped calcium oxalate crystals in the urine. Concomitantly, serum and urinary creatinine, urea, uric acid, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, and chloride were altered. The co-administration of both RT extracts prevented alterations in all these parameters. In the EG/AC-induced rat model, the antioxidants- and polyphenols-rich E-RT and EA-RT extracts significantly reduced the presence of calcium oxalate in the urine, and prevented serum and urinary biochemical alterations together with kidney tissue damage associated with urolithiasis. Moreover, we demonstrated that the beneficial preventive effects of E-RT co-administration were more pronounced than those obtained with EA-RT. The superiority of E-RT was associated with its more potent antioxidant effect, due to its high content in polyphenols.