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. 2018 Apr;64(3).
doi: 10.1111/jpi.12456. Epub 2017 Dec 4.

Neuroprotective Effects of Melatonin on Amphetamine-Induced Dopaminergic Fiber Degeneration in the Hippocampus of Postnatal Rats

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Neuroprotective Effects of Melatonin on Amphetamine-Induced Dopaminergic Fiber Degeneration in the Hippocampus of Postnatal Rats

Tanawan Leeboonngam et al. J Pineal Res. .

Abstract

Chronic amphetamine (AMPH) abuse leads to damage of the hippocampus, the brain area associated with learning and memory process. Previous results have shown that AMPH-induced dopamine neurotransmitter release, reactive oxygen species formation, and degenerative protein aggregation lead to neuronal death. Melatonin, a powerful antioxidant, plays a role as a neuroprotective agent. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the protective effect of melatonin on AMPH-induced hippocampal damage in the postnatal rat acts through the dopaminergic pathway. Four-day-old postnatal rats were subcutaneously injected with 5-10 mg/kg AMPH and pretreated with 10 mg/kg melatonin prior to AMPH exposure for seven days. The results showed that melatonin decreased the AMPH-induced hippocampal neuronal degeneration in the dentate gyrus, CA1, and CA3. Melatonin attenuated the reduction in the expression of hippocampal synaptophysin, PSD-95, α-synuclein, and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor protein and mRNA caused by AMPH. Melatonin attenuated the AMPH-induced reduction in dopamine transporter (DAT) protein expression in the hippocampus and the reduction in mRNA expression in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Immunofluorescence demonstrated that melatonin not only prevented the AMPH-induced loss of DAT and NMDA receptor but also prevented AMPH-induced α-synuclein overexpression in the dentate gyrus, CA1, and CA3. Melatonin decreased the AMPH-induced reduction in the protein and mRNA of the NMDA receptor downstream signaling molecule, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), and the melatonin receptors (MT1 and MT2). This study showed that melatonin prevented AMPH-induced toxicity in the hippocampus of postnatal rats possibly via its antioxidative effect and mitochondrial protection.

Keywords: amphetamine; dopaminergic fiber; hippocampus; melatonin; postnatal rat.

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