Beneficial effects of melatonin in a rat model of splanchnic artery occlusion and reperfusion

J Pineal Res. 2000 Jan;28(1):52-63. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-079x.2000.280108.x.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the protective effect of the pineal secretary product melatonin in a model of splanchnic artery occlusion shock (SAO). SAO shock was induced in rats by clamping both the superior mesenteric artery and the celiac trunk for 45 min, followed thereafter by release of the clamp (reperfusion). At 60 min after reperfusion, animals were sacrificed for tissue histological examination and biochemical studies. There was a marked increase in the oxidation of dihydrorhodamine 123 to rhodamine (a marker of peroxynitrite-induced oxidative processes) in the plasma of the SAO-shocked rats after reperfusion, but not during ischemia alone. Immunohistochemical examination demonstrated a marked increase in the immunoreactivity to nitrotyrosine, an index of nitrogen species such as peroxynitrite, in the necrotic ileum in shocked rats. SAO-shocked rats developed a significant increase of tissue myeloperoxidase and malondialdehyde activity, and marked histological injury to the distal ileum. SAO shock was also associated with a significant mortality (0% survival at 2 hr after reperfusion). Reperfused ileum tissue sections from SAO-shocked rats showed positive staining for P-selectin, which was mainly localized in the vascular endothelial cells. Ileum tissue sections obtained from SAO-shocked rats with anti-intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM-1) antibody showed a diffuse staining. Melatonin (applied at 3 mg/kg, 5 min prior to reperfusion, followed by an infusion of 3 mg/kg per hr), significantly reduced ischemia reperfusion injury in the bowel as evaluated by histological examination. This prevented the infiltration of neutrophils into the reperfused intestine, is evidenced by reduced myeloperoxidase activity and reduced lipid peroxidation. This was evaluated by malondialdehyde activity which reduced the production of peroxynitrite during reperfusion, markedly reduced the intensity and degree of P-selectin and ICAM-1 in tissue section from SAO-shocked rats and improved their survival. Taken together, our results clearly demonstrate that melatonin treatment exerts a protective effect and part of this effect may be due to inhibition of the expression of adhesion molecule and peroxynitrite-related pathways and subsequent reduction of neutrophil-mediated cellular injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Ileal Diseases / metabolism
  • Ileal Diseases / pathology
  • Ileal Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / drug effects*
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / metabolism
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / pathology
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress
  • P-Selectin / metabolism
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Splanchnic Circulation / drug effects
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • P-Selectin
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • 3-nitrotyrosine
  • Tyrosine
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Peroxidase
  • Melatonin