Melatonin decreases neurovascular oxidative/nitrosative damage and protects against early increases in the blood-brain barrier permeability after transient focal cerebral ischemia in mice

Hung-Yi Chen, Tsung-Ying Chen, Ming-Yang Lee, Shur-Tzu Chen, Yun-Shang Hsu, Yen-Liang Kuo, Guan-Liang Chang, Tian-Shung Wu, E-Jian Lee
Journal of Pineal Research 2006, 41 (2): 175-82
We have recently shown that melatonin decreases the late (24 hr) increase in blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability and the risk of tissue plasminogen activator-induced hemorrhagic transformation following ischemic stroke in mice. In the study, we further explored whether melatonin would reduce postischemic neurovascular oxidative/nitrosative damage and, therefore, improve preservation of the early increase in the BBB permeability at 4 hr after transient focal cerebral ischemia for 60 min in mice. Melatonin (5 mg/kg) or vehicle was given intraperitoneally at the beginning of reperfusion. Hydroethidine (HEt) in situ detection and immunohistochemistry for nitrotyrosine were used to evaluate postischemic accumulation in reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, respectively, in the ischemic neurovascular unit. BBB permeability was evaluated by spectrophotometric and microscopic quantitation of Evans Blue leakage. Relative to controls, melatonin-treated animals not only had a significantly reduced superoxide accumulation in neurovascular units in boundary zones of infarction, by reducing 35% and 54% cytosolic oxidized HEt in intensity and cell-expressing percentage, respectively (P < 0.001), but also exhibited a reduction in nitrotyrosine by 52% (P < 0.01). Additionally, melatonin-treated animals had significantly reduced early postischemic disruption in the BBB permeability by 53% (P < 0.001). Thus, melatonin reduced postischemic oxidative/nitrosative damage to the ischemic neurovascular units and improved the preservation of BBB permeability at an early phase following transient focal cerebral ischemia in mice. The findings further highlight the ability of melatonin in anatomical and functional preservation for the ischemic neurovascular units and its relevant potential in the treatment of ischemic stroke.

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