Radio-protective effects of melatonin against irradiation-induced oxidative damage in rat peripheral blood.Phys Med. 2013 Jan; 29(1):65-74.PM
During radiotherapy, ionizing irradiation interacts with biological systems to produce free radicals, which attacks various cellular components. The hematopoietic system is well-known to be radiosensitive and its damage may be life-threatening. Melatonin synergistically acts as an immunostimulator and antioxidant. In this study we used a total of 120 rats with 20 rats in each group. Group 1 did not receive melatonin or irradiation (Control group), Group 2 received only 10 mg/kg melatonin (Mel group), Group 3 exposed to dose of 2 Gy irradiation (2 Gy Rad group), Group 4 exposed to 8 Gy irradiation (8 Gy Rad group), Group 5 received 2 Gy irradiation plus 10 mg/kg melatonin (Mel +2 Gy Rad group) and Group 6 received 8 Gy irradiation plus 10 mg/kg melatonin (Mel+8 Gy Rad group). Following exposure to radiation, five rats from each group were sacrificed at 4, 24, 48 and 72 h. Exposure to different doses of irradiation resulted in a dose-dependent decline in the antioxidant enzymes activity and lymphocyte count (LC) and an increase in the nitric oxide (NO) levels of the serum. Pre-treatment with melatonin (10 mg/kg) ameliorates harmful effects of 2 and 8 Gy irradiation by increasing lymphocyte count(LC) as well as antioxidant enzymes activity and decreasing NO levels at all time-points. In conclusion 10 mg/kg melatonin is likely to be a threshold concentration for significant protection against lower dose of 2 Gy gamma irradiation compared to higher dose of 8 Gy. Therefore, it seems that radio-protective effects of melatonin are dose-dependent.