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Pharmacodynamic evaluation of the effects of oral melatonin on expression of the T-cell cytokines interleukin-2 and interferon gamma in the dog

Anna C Peace, Santosh Kumar, Robert Wills, Andrew Mackin, Crystal M Hoh, Todd Archer
Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2019 January 24

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of exogenous melatonin administration on activated whole blood expression of the T-cell cytokines interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (INF-γ) in dogs.

ANIMALS: Ten healthy dogs.

PROCEDURES: Heparinized whole blood was collected from 10 dogs for analysis of cytokine expression before administration of melatonin (baseline). Each dog was then administered melatonin at a dosage of approximately 1 mg/kg, PO, q 12 hr for 14 days. On day 14, whole blood was again collected from each dog at the time points of trough (0 hr) and 6 hr postmelatonin administration to evaluate the effects of melatonin on cytokine expression. At all evaluated time points, analysis of activated whole blood expression of mRNA coding for both IL-2 and IFN-γ was performed using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to determine whether a difference existed for any time point. Blood melatonin concentrations were also measured at comparable time points.

RESULTS: A statistical difference in the expression of either cytokine was not appreciated at any time point, despite attainment of expected blood concentrations of the drug.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results indicate that melatonin therapy does not significantly affect IL-2 or IFN-γ expression in healthy dogs. While melatonin is thought to have an effect on the immune system in dogs, it does not appear this effect is through altering T-cell IL-2 or IFN-γ expression. Further studies investigating the effects of melatonin on the immune system of dogs are warranted.


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