Melatonin delays photoreceptor degeneration in the rds/rds mouse

Neuroreport. 2001 Apr 17;12(5):1011-4. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200104170-00029.


Photoreceptors in retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a group of inherited retinal degenerative diseases, die through apoptosis. Since melatonin protects against neuronal apoptotic death, we tested its ability to slow photoreceptor degeneration in the rds/rds mouse, an animal model for RP. Shortly after birth, rds/rds mice were given daily i.p. injections of melatonin or vehicle for 11 weeks. Melatonin treatment significantly delayed photoreceptor loss and reduced the number of apoptotic photoreceptors. Further studies should determine if melatonin will have potential for the treatment of certain human retinal degenerations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Nucleus / drug effects
  • Electroretinography
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Photoreceptor Cells / drug effects
  • Photoreceptor Cells / pathology*
  • Retinal Degeneration / genetics
  • Retinal Degeneration / pathology*
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / genetics
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa / pathology*


  • Melatonin