Melatonin prevents radiation-induced oxidative stress and periodontal tissue breakdown in irradiated rats with experimental periodontitis

J Periodontal Res. 2017 Jun;52(3):438-446. doi: 10.1111/jre.12409. Epub 2016 Aug 11.


Background and objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the biochemical and histochemical effects of radiation therapy and protective melatonin administration on periodontal tissues in rats with experimental periodontitis.

Material and methods: Sixty male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into six groups, as follows: control; experimental periodontitis (Ped); radiotherapy administration (Rt); experimental periodontitis and exposure to irradiation (Ped-Rt); radiotherapy and protective melatonin administration (Rt-Mel); and periodontitis, radiation therapy and protective melatonin administration (Ped-Rt-Mel). The rats were killed at the end of the experimental procedure, and the oxidative stress level and periodontal destruction were compared among the groups.

Results: The oxidative stress index and the levels of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine, malondialdehyde and C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen were found to be significantly higher in the Ped-Rt group compared with the Ped group (p < 0.05), and the levels were lower in the Ped-Rt-Mel group than in the Ped-Rt group (p < 0.05). Alveolar bone destruction and attachment level were also significantly lower in the Ped-Rt-Mel group than in the Ped-Rt group (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: It was found that radiotherapy increased oxidative stress, the periodontal attachment level and alveolar bone loss, and protective melatonin administration significantly reduced the oxidative parameters and prevented periodontal damage in irradiated rats with experimental periodontitis. Further research is needed regarding the use of systemic melatonin administration before radiation therapy.

Keywords: antioxidants; experimental periodontitis; host modulation therapy; radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Interleukin-1beta / blood
  • Male
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects*
  • Periodontitis / metabolism*
  • Periodontitis / pathology
  • Periodontium / metabolism*
  • Periodontium / pathology
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Melatonin