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Melatonin reduces ischemia/reperfusion-induced superoxide generation in arterial wall and cell death in skeletal muscle


Address reprint requests to Wei Z. Wang, Department of Surgery, University of Nevada School of Medicine, 2040 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 301, Las Vegas, NV 89102, USA.


Abstract:  The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of melatonin on superoxide generation in arterial wall at an early phase of reperfusion and on endothelial dysfunction of microvasculature and cell viability of cremaster muscle at late phase of reperfusion (24 hr) after prolonged ischemia. Bilateral vascular pedicles which supply blood flow to the cremaster muscle were exposed. After surgical preparation, microvascular clamps were applied on the right iliac, femoral and spermatic arteries to create 4 hr of ischemia in both feeding vessels and the unexposed cremaster muscle. The vascular clamping was omitted on the left iliac, femoral and spermatic arteries and served as an internal control. Melatonin or Vehicle was via by intravenous injection at 10 min prior to reperfusion and 10 min after reperfusion. In the first experiment, the vascular pedicle was harvested after reperfusion to measure superoxide generation in real time by lucigenin-derived chemiluminescence. In the second experiment, endothelial-dependent and -independent vasodilatation was examined in the terminal arteriole of cremaster muscle which was then harvested to examine cell viability by WST-1 assay on day 2. Superoxide generation in arterial wall peaked at first 5-min of reperfusion and declined to near baseline after 60 min of reperfusion. Melatonin treatment significantly reduced superoxide generation in arterial walls and improved cell viability in cremaster muscles. Melatonin treatment also significantly reduced microvascular endothelial dysfunction which was still observable in the microcirculation of cremaster muscle after 24 hr of reperfusion. Melatonin reduces superoxide generation in the early phase of reperfusion resulting in attenuating endothelial dysfunction and muscle cell death in the late phase of reperfusion.