Cadmium, a well-known environmental pollutant and a toxic transitional metal causes severe damage to many organs, such as liver, kidney, lungs, heart, etc. The current study has been designed to assess the impact of p-coumaric acid, a common dietary polyphenol on cadmium chloride-induced renal toxicity in rats. Therefore, the activities of membrane bound ATPases, mitochondrial TCA cycle and electron transport chain enzymes, gluconeogenic and glycolytic enzymes, and glycogen content were estimated in kidney tissue homogenates of control and experimental rats. In addition, the serum levels of glucose and pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α and IL-1β were also estimated. The cadmium chloride administered rats (3 mg per kg per b. wt per s.c.) showed significant decrease in the levels of membrane bound ATPases, mitochondrial TCA cycle and electron transport chain enzymes, glycolytic enzymes, and glycogen content as compared with controls. Conversely, the levels of glucose, gluconeogenic enzymes and pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, and IL-1β) were found to be increased. However, the administration of p-coumaric acid (100 mg per kg per b. wt per s.c.) along with the cadmium chloride significantly modulated these biochemical and immunological changes to near normal, as compared to cadmium chloride treated rats. Thus, the results provide strong evidence that p-coumaric acid has a protective action against cadmium-induced renal toxicity in rats. © 2014 the Partner Organisations.