• melatonin;
  • gastric ischemia reperfusion ulcer;
  • antioxidant protection

De La Lastra CA, Cabeza J, Motilva V, Martin MJ. Melatonin protects against gastric ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats. J. Pineal Res. 1997; 23:47–52. © Munksgaard, Copenhagen


Lipid peroxidation and active oxygen metabolites have been suggested to play an important role in the pathogenesis of acute gastric mucosal injury induced by ischemia-reperfusion. The aim of this study was to examine the in vivo protective effects of melatonin on ischemia-reperfusion induced gastric damage in rats. The peroxidation of lipids and changes in the activities of related enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase and myeloperoxidase, as a marker of neutrophil infiltration, were also studied. Our results show that gastric injury was significantly increased after 30 min ischemia induced by clamping the celiac artery and 60 min reperfusion. Intraperitoneal administration of melatonin prevented postishemic mucosal injury. The mean ulcer indices of rats treated with 5, 10, and 20 mg kg -1 were significantly lower (P<0.01, P<0.001) than that of control rats. These protective effects were likely in part related to a reduction of neutrophil infiltration (myeloperoxidase values). Lipid peroxidation in the stomach was increased by ischemia-reperfusion injury and this increase was inhibited by the administration of melatonin. In addition, treatment with melatonin limited the decreased glutathione peroxidase activity. The results suggest that melatonin confers a marked protection against ischemia-reperfusion gastric injury which could be due to melatonin's free radical scavenging activity and its ability to reduce neutrophil-induced toxicity.