Inhibitory influence of late afternoon melatonin injections and the counter-inhibitory action of melatonin-containing pellets on thyroid growth process in male Wistar rats: Comparison with effects of other indole substances


Address reprint requests to Ewa Wajs, Laboratory of Thyrology, Institute of Endocrinology, The University School of Medicine at Łódź,-Łódź, Poland


Abstract: Previous studies performed in our laboratory indicated that melatonin, when adminstered in late afternoon (1600–1800) as s.c. injections for 10 days, exerted an inhibitory effect on thyroid growth in mice and Sprague-Dawley rats. The goal of the present study was to examine the effects of melatonin and other indole substances (5-methoxytryptophol, N-acetylserotonin, 6-methoxytryptamine), administered for 10 days, for either 4, 8, or 10 weeks, on thyroid growth processes in adult male Wistar rats. We have also compared the action of melatonin administered in late afternoon as s.c. injections with effects of the melatonin-released chronically from s.c. implanted beeswax pellets containing 1 mg of the hormone. Additionally, the effects of melatonin injections in animals with the pineal gland removed and in thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)-injected rats have been studied. We examined the mean mitotic activity rates (MMARs) of thyroid follicular cells (TFC) and the wet thyroid weights. We concluded that melatonin, of the examined substances, is the most potent inhibitor of thyroid growth; the hormone reduced the MMAR of TFC and the thyroid weight at all time-points. 5-Methoxytryptophol, like melatonin, exerted the inhibitory influence on the mitotic activity; however, it did not affect thyroid weight. The influence of other indole substances was much less pronounced. It was shown that melatonin-pellets prevented the inhibitory effect of late afternoon melatonin injections on thyroid growth processes. This observation is consistent with results of other authors concerning the counter-antithyroid effect of melatonin on thyroid hormone secretion. Pinealectomy revealed the stimulatory effect on thyroid growth processes, while melatonin treatment reversed the effect of the surgery. Melatonin suppressed the stimulatory effect of TSH on the thyroid growth.