Potent protective effect of melatonin on in vivo paraquat-induced oxidative damage in rats

Daniela Melchiorri, Russel J. Reiter, Ahmed M. Attia, Masayuki Hara, Alejandro Burgos, Giuseppe Nistico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

304 Scopus citations


The in vivo effect of melatonin on paraquat-induced oxidative damage in rat lung and liver was studied using two parameters: the concentration of malonaldehyde and 4-hydroxyalkenals as indices of lipid peroxidation; changes in total and oxidized glutathione. Melatonin (10 mg/kg) or an equal volume of saline were administered intraperitoneally (ip) to rats 30 min prior to an ip injection of paraquat (20mg/kg or 70mg/kg). After paraquat treatment, the animals received melatonin or saline ip injections every six hours for 24 hours. Rats were killed 24 hours after paraquat injection. In lung, both the low and high dose of paraquat, when administered with saline, augmented lipid peroxidation (100% and 18%, respectively) above levels found in control animals. Treatment with melatonin completely reversed this effect. In liver, paraquat (70 mg/kg) increased lipid peroxidation by 40% over the levels of control animals. The increase was completely abolished by treatment with melatonin. Paraquat at 20mg/kg did not induce any significant change in liver lipid peroxidation. Paraquat treatment resulted in a significant decrease of total glutathione concentration and increased oxidized glutathione in both lung and liver. These effects were abolished by treatment with melatonin. The results suggest that melatonin confers marked protection against paraquat-induced oxidative toxicity in both the lung and liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2 1994


  • lipid peroxidation
  • liver
  • lung
  • melatonin
  • paraquat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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