The effect of oral erdosteine on tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) levels, and catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities are investigated in the cisplatin model of acute renal failure in rats. A single dose of cisplatin caused kidney damage manifested by kidney histology as well as increases in plasma creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. Treatment with free radical scavenger erdosteine attenuated increases in plasma creatinine and BUN, and tissue MDA and NO levels, and provided a histologically-proven protection against cisplatin-induced acute renal failure. Erdosteine also reduced depletion in the tissue CAT, GSH-Px, and SOD activities. These results show that erdosteine may be a promising drug for protection against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. However, further studies with different doses of erdosteine are warranted for clarifying the issue. (C) 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.