Melatonin and colon carcinogenesis. III. Effect of melatonin on proliferative activity and apoptosis in colon mucosa and colon tumors induced by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine in rats

Published on Tuesday, 14 July 2015


Forty-eight two-month-old outbred female LIO rats were injected weekly with a single dose of 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH; 21 mg/kg of body weight) administered s.c. for 15 consecutive weeks.

From the day of the 1st injection of the carcinogen the part of rats were given five days a week during the night time (from 18.00 h to 08.00 h) melatonin dissolved in tap water, 20 mg/l. 10 rats were treated similarly with solvents and served as control.

The experiment was terminated 6 months after the first injection of the carcinogen.

Colon tumors (mainly adenocarcinomas) developed in a hundred percent of rats exposed both to DMH or to DMH plus melatonin. However, descending colon carcinomas were observed in 65 % of rats exposed to DMH plus melatonin against 100% in those exposed to DMH alone (p < 0.01).

The multiplicity of colon tumors was also reduced in rats under the influence of melatonin. This effect is correlated with the significant inhibitory effect of the pineal hormone on mitotic index and with stimulating effect of melatonin on the relative number of apoptotic cells (TUNEL-method) in colon tumors.

Long-term treatment with melatonin was followed also by the decrease in the area of lymphoid infiltrates in the colon mucosa of tumor-bearing rats.



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