The effects of i.p. melatonin (4 + 4 mg/kg, after induction of ischemia and at reperfusion onset) administered either alone or in combination with the thrombolytic tissue-plasminogen activator (t-PA, 10 mg/kg), on cerebral laser Doppler flow (LDF) and ischemic injury were studied after 30 min of middle cerebral artery (MCA) thread occlusion in male C57BL/6 mice. Thread occlusions resulted in reproducible focal ischemias, followed by hyperperfusion reactions immediately after thread withdrawal, as revealed by LDF measurements. Compared with animals receiving normal saline (peak LDF after reperfusion: 172.0 ± 24.2%), postischemic LDF was significantly attenuated in animals treated with melatonin (105.1 ± 6.7%, P < 0.05). Delivery of t-PA (132.8 ± 22.3%) or t-PA plus melatonin (164.7 ± 36.7%), on the contrary, did not influence postischemic LDF recordings. Twenty-four hours after reperfusion, melatonin treated mice had significantly increased neuronal survival and decreased disseminate cell injury in the ischemia-vulnerable striatum, as investigated by cresyl violet and terminal transferase biotinylated-dUTP nick end labeling stainings. The protective effects were associated with inhibition of caspase-3 activity. Melatonin administration also increased neuronal survival after 30 min MCA occlusion in animals treated with t-PA, although t-PA itself already decreased the degree of injury in a significant manner. Our data demonstrate that melatonin reduces disseminated neuronal injury in the striatum after mild focal ischemia. Brain protection is independent of hemodynamic changes and involves inhibition of caspase-3.
- Caspase-3 activity
- Free radical scavenging
- Intraluminal thread occlusion
- Tissue plasminogen activator
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