The protective effect of melatonin in lungs of newborn rats exposed to maternal nicotine

Biotech Histochem. 2018;93(6):442-452. doi: 10.1080/10520295.2018.1453548. Epub 2018 Apr 27.


We investigated possible healing effects of melatonin (MEL) on biochemical and histological changes in the lungs of rat offspring caused by exposure to nicotine (NT) in utero. Pregnant rats were divided randomly into five groups. The SP group was treated with physiological saline. The EA group was treated with ethyl alcohol. The MEL group was treated with MEL. The NT group was treated with NT. The NT + MEL group was treated with NT and MEL. At the end of the study, the biochemistry and histopathology of lung tissue of the offspring were examined. Reduced alveolar development and increased numbers of alveolar macrophages and mast cells were observed in the NT group compared to the SP, EA and MEL groups. We also found increased malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and decreased total glutathione (GSH) levels in the NT group. Application of MEL ameliorated the histological and biochemical damage caused by NT. The number of alveoli was greater in the NT + MEL group than in the NT group. Also, the increased numbers of alveolar macrophages and mast cells resulting from exposure to NT were decreased following MEL treatment. We found that MEL caused a significant decrease in the level of MDA. Maternal exposure to NT caused significant structural and biochemical changes in the lungs of the offspring and administration of MEL ameliorated the changes.

Keywords: histopathology; lung; maternal; melatonin; nicotine; oxidative stress; rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / pharmacology
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Nicotine / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Antioxidants
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Nicotine
  • Glutathione
  • Melatonin