Protective effect of melatonin against the inflammatory response elicited by crude venom from isolated nematocysts of Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa)


Address reprint requests to Prof. Salvatore Cuzzocrea, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of Messina, Torre Biologica – Policlinico Universitario Via C. Valeria – Gazzi – 98100 Messina, Italy.


Abstract:  Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is an efficient free radical scavenger and antioxidant, both in vitro and in vivo. The role of melatonin as an immunomodulator is, in some cases, contradictory. In this study we have investigated the therapeutic efficacy of melatonin in rats subjected to Pelagia noctiluca crude venom (of the familia Pelaguiidae; and genus Pelagia) induced acute paw inflammation. In particular, injection of the venom into the paw of rats elicited an acute inflammatory response characterized by accumulation of fluid containing a large number of polymorphonuclear neutrophils in the paw and subsequent lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, the venom promoted an expression of iNOS, nitrotyrosine and the activation of the nuclear enzyme poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase as determined by immunohistochemical analysis of paw tissues. Administration of melatonin 30 min, 1 and 6 hr after the challenge with the venom, caused a significant reduction in all the parameters of inflammation measured. Thus, based on these findings we propose that melatonin may be useful a treatment of local acute inflammation induced by P. noctiluca crude venom.