Lead nitrate and mercury chloride are the most common heavy metal pollutants. In the present study, the effects of lead and mercury induced nephrotoxicity were studied in Wistar rats. Lead nitrate (LN, 45 mg/kg b.w/day) and mercury chloride (MC, 0.02 mg/kg b.w/day) and their combination were administered orally for 28 days. Four groups of rats were used in the study: control, LN, MC and LN plus MC groups. Serum biochemical parameters, lipid peroxidation, antioxidant enzymes and histopathological changes in kidney tissues were investigated in all treatment groups. LN and MC caused severe histopathological changes. It was shown that LN, MC and also co-treatment with LN and MC exposure induced significant increase in serum urea, uric acid and creatinine levels. There were also statistically significant changes in antioxidant enzyme activities (SOD, CAT, GPx and GST) and lipid peroxidation (MDA) in all groups except control group. In this study, we showed that MC caused more harmful effects than LN in rats. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.