Oxidative and inflammatory parameters in respiratory distress syndrome of preterm newborns: Beneficial effects of melatonin

Eloisa Gitto, Russel J. Reiter, Stefania P. Cordaro, Mariangela La Rosa, Pietro Chiurazzi, Giuseppe Trimarchi, Placido Gitto, Maria P. Calabrò, Ignazio Barberi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen species play an important role in the pathogenesis of respiratory distress syndrome and its complications. This study was conducted to determine if treatment with the antioxidant melatonin would influence interleukin-6, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor α, and nitrite/ nitrate levels in newborns with grade III or IV respiratory distress syndrome (radiographically confirmed) diagnosed within the first 6 hours of life. Prior to treatment, a blood sample was collected from the umbilical cord or a peripheral vein of each newborn. Second, third, and fourth blood samples were collected at 24 hours, 72 hours, and 7 days, respectively, after beginning treatment with melatonin or placebo. Compared with the melatonin-treated respiratory distress syndrome newborns, in the untreated infants the concentrations of interleukin-6, interleukin-8, and tumor necrosis factor α were significantly higher at 24 hours, 72 hours, and at 7 days after onset of the study, in addition, nitrite/nitrate levels at all time points were higher in the untreated respiratory distress syndrome newborns than in the melatonin-treated babies. Following melatonin administration, nitrite/nitrate levels decreased significantly, whereas they remained high and increased further in the respiratory distress syndrome infants not given melatonin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2004


  • Melatonin
  • Newborns
  • Respiratory distress syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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