Nephrotoxicity has been associated with nucleos(t)ide analogues other than telbivudine (LdT). This study investigated the potential effects of LdT and lamivudine (LAM) on renal function in an experimental rat model of gentamicin-induced acute nephrotoxicity. A total of 28 healthy Wistar albino rats were randomly divided into four experimental groups: negative control; positive control (PC); LdT; and LAM. Nephrotoxicity was induced by gentamicin in the LdT, LAM and PC groups. LdT and LAM were administered to two groups for 6 weeks starting on the ninth day. Blood samples were collected weekly and cystatin C levels were measured by ELISA. Animals were sacrificed on the 50th day and the kidneys were removed for histological examination. Serum cystatin C levels differed significantly between the LdT and LAM groups (P < 0.007) and between the LdT and PC groups (P < 0.001). Renal function was significantly improved in the LdT group at the start of antiviral treatment on Day 8 and at the end of treatment on Day 50 (P = 0.001 and 0.007). Glomerular injury, acute tubular necrosis and total injury score were significantly reduced in the LdT group relative to the PC and LAM groups upon histopathological examination. LdT was associated with significant improvements in renal function as measured by biochemical and histopathological methods. The acute kidney injury model data should be supported by clinical studies to suggest that LdT treatment may have advantages for patients with underlying chronic kidney disease receiving chronic hepatitis B treatment. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. and International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.