• ascorbic acid;
  • ischemia-reperfusion;
  • inter-α-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain 4;
  • melatonin;
  • oxidative stress;
  • pancreas transplantation

Abstract:  Oxidative stress is involved in ischemia-reperfusion injury and allograft rejection after transplantation. We studied two well-known antioxidants, melatonin and ascorbic acid (AA), in relation to the survival of a pancreas transplantation model without immunosuppression. Forty-eight Landrace pigs were divided into three groups (n = 16 each; eight donors and eight recipients) that received melatonin, AA, or no antioxidant therapy (controls). Melatonin and AA were administered (10 mg/kg body weight) intravenously to donors and recipients during surgery and on postoperative days 1–7. The molecules were also added (5 mm) to a University of Wisconsin preservation solution during organ cold storage. Melatonin significantly delayed acute rejection and prolonged allograft survival (25.1 ± 7.7 days) compared with the controls (8.1 ± 0.8 days, = 0.013) and the AA group (9.4 ± 1.6 days, = 0.049). Melatonin reduced indicators of oxidative stress, malondialdehyde, and 4-hydroxyalkenals, in pancreatic samples collected during procurement, cold ischemia, and reperfusion. Melatonin also reduced serum pig-major acute-phase protein/inter-α-trypsin inhibitor heavy chain 4 (pMAP/ITIH4) in the early post-transplantation period. AA only partially reduced oxidative damage 30 min postreperfusion and failed to prevent pMAP/ITIH4 elevations. These findings suggested that melatonin may be a useful therapeutic tool for organ transplantation.