Melatonin reduces X-ray irradiation-induced oxidative damages in cultured human skin fibroblasts

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Published on Monday, 20 July 2020

Abstract

Melatonin is a hormone with multiple functions in humans, produced by the pineal gland and stimulated by beta-adrenergic receptors.

Melatonin has been shown to have radioprotection properties, but there has been little progress toward identifying the specific mechanisms of its action.

To clarify the role of melatonin as a radioprotective compound, in response to X-ray irradiation, we investigated the effects of X-ray irradiation and melatonin on cytotoxicity, lipid peroxidation and alteration of the cell cycle in cultured skin fibroblast.

An 8 Gy dose of X radiation resulted in cell death in 63% of irradiated cells, i.e. the cell viability was 37%. The damage was associated with lipid peroxidation of the cell membrane, as shown by the accumulation of malondialdehyde (MDA).

By pre-incubation with melatonin (10(-5) M), a significant preventive effect was noted on the increase in the absolute number of surviving cells (up to 68% of cells were survived), and the levels of MDA were markedly decreased. These findings suggest a close correlation between an increase of lipid peroxidation and a rate of cell death. Morphological changes associated with apoptotic cell death were demonstrated by TEM.

DNA flow-cytometry analysis revealed that X radiation increased pre-G1 apoptotic population by 7.6% compared to a very low level (1.3%) of non-irradiated cells. However, in the presence of melatonin, this apoptotic population decreased up to 4.5% at 10(-5) M. The p53 and p21 protein levels of skin fibroblasts increased 4 h after 8 Gy irradiation, but melatonin pretreatment did not change those levels.

This study suggests that melatonin pretreatment inhibits radiation-induced apoptosis, and melatonin exerts its radioprotective effect by inhibition of lipid peroxidation and without any involvement of the p53/p21 pathway.

 



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