Investigation of the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of melatonin on experimental liver damage by radiation

Pathol Res Pract. 2023 Jun:246:154477. doi: 10.1016/j.prp.2023.154477. Epub 2023 Apr 25.


Radiotherapy is one of the inevitable treatment approaches for several types of cancer. We aimed to show the protective and therapeutic effects of daily use of melatonin on liver tissues subjected to a single dose of 10 Gy (gamma-ray) total body radiation. Rats were divided into 6 groups, of which 10 were in each: control, sham, melatonin, radiation, radiation+melatonin, and melatonin+radiation. The rats received 10 Gy of external radiation throughout their entire bodies. The rats were given 10 mg/kg/day of melatonin intraperitoneally before or after radiation treatment, depending on the group. Histological methods, immunohistochemical analysis (Caspase-3, Sirtuin-1, α-SMA, NFΚB-p65), biochemical analysis by ELİSA (SOD, CAT, GSH-PX, MDA, TNF-α, TGF-β, PDGF, PGC-1α) and the Comet assay as a marker of DNA damage were applied to the liver tissues. Histopathological examinations showed structural changes in the liver tissue of the radiation group. Radiation treatment increased the immunoreactivity of Caspase-3, Sirtuin-1 and α-SMA, but these effects were relatively attenuated in the melatonin-treated groups. The melatonin+radiation group had statistically significant results close to those of the control group, in terms of Caspase-3, NFΚB-p65 and Sirtuin-1 immunoreactivity. In melatonin treated groups, hepatic biochemical markers, MDA, SOD, TNF-α, TGF-β levels, and DNA damage parameters were decreased. Administration of melatonin before and after radiation has beneficial effects, but using it before radiation may be more efficient. Accordingly, daily melatonin usage could mitigate ionizing radiation induced damage.

Keywords: DNA damage; Inflammation; Melatonin; Oxidative stress; Radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases*
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Melatonin* / pharmacology
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sirtuins* / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Melatonin
  • Caspase 3
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Sirtuins