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OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of a botanical formulation of Herniaria glabra, Agropyron repens, Equisetum arvense, and Sambucus nigra as a preventive agent in an experimentally induced nefrolithiasis model in rats. METHODS: Six groups of six Wistar male rats each were induced for nefrolithiasis by treatment with 0.75% ethylene glycol (EG) and 1% ammonium chloride for three days and then EG only for 15 days. One group was treated with placebo (control group) and the other groups (treated groups) were treated with 30 mg/Kg, 60 mg/Kg, 125 mg/Kg, 250 mg/Kg and 500 mg/Kg of the plant extract formulation (PEF). 24-h urine and water samples were collected one day before EG administration and at 7, 13 and 18 days to determine diuresis, crystalluria and urine biochemistry. The kidneys were removed for histological analysis. The phytochemical characterization of PEF and each of its component plant extracts was performed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. RESULTS: Animals treated with 125 mg/Kg of the PEF had statistically significantly lower calcium oxalate crystals deposits content compared to the control group. All PEF doses statistically significantly decreased the number of microcalcifications compared to the control group. Furthermore, the number of kidneys affected by subcapsular fibrosis was statistically significantly higher in control group than in treated groups with the PEF. The diuresis of the 125 mg/Kg and 500 mg/Kg PEF-treated groups was statistically significantly higher than that of the control group. A phytochemical analysis demonstrated the presence of flavonoids, dicarboxylic acids and saponins. CONCLUSION: Treatment with PEF prevents deposits of calcium oxalate crystals formation and of microcalcifications in the kidney, and reduces the risk of fibrosis subcapsular. 125 mg/Kg of PEF is the dose that has a greater effect on the studied parameters.
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