Amikacin (AK) has nephrotoxic side effects. AK-induced nephrotoxicity may be the consequence of oxidative stress and so anti-oxidant agents could be useful in reducing AK toxicity. Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) was recently shown to have free radical scavenging ability and it reduces lipid peroxidation. For this purpose, the rats were distributed into three groups: (I) injected with vehicle (control); (II) injected (i.p.) with 1.2 g kg(-1) AK at a single dose; (III) injected (i.p.) with AK plus 10 mu mol kg(-1) CAPE. Renal morphology was investigated by light microscopy. Tissue samples and trunk blood were also obtained to determine renal malondialdehyde (MDA), blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (Cr) levels. MDA production was found to be higher in rats given AK than among control rats. CAPE administration before AK injection caused a significant decrease in MDA production. Morphological tubule damage in rats given AK was severe in the renal cortex, whereas in rats given AK plus CAPE, no histological changes occurred. It is concluded that CAPE could be useful for reducing the nephrotoxic effects of AK. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.