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    Chronic intermittent hypoxia (CIH) induces lipid peroxidation and leads to cardiovascular dysfunction, in which impaired activities of the adrenal medulla are involved. This may be caused by CIH-induced injury in the adrenal medulla, for which the mechanism is currently undefined. We tested the hypothesis that melatonin ameliorates the CIH-induced lipid peroxidation, local inflammation and cellular injury in rat adrenal medulla. Adult Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to air (normoxic control) or hypoxia mimicking a severe recurrent sleep apnoeic condition for 14 days. The injection of melatonin (10 mg/kg) or vehicle was given before the daily hypoxic treatment. We found that levels of malondialdehyde and nitrotyrosine were significantly increased in the vehicle-treated hypoxic group, when compared with the normoxic control or hypoxic group treated with melatonin. Also, the protein levels of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase (SOD)-1 and SOD-2) were significantly lowered in the hypoxic group treated with vehicle but not in the melatonin group. In addition, the level of macrophage infiltration and the expression of inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6) and mediators (inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)) were elevated in the vehicle-treated hypoxic group, but were significantly ameliorated by the melatonin treatment. Moreover, the amount of apoptotic cells in the hypoxic groups was significantly less in the melatonin-treated group. In conclusion, CIH-induced lipid peroxidation causes local inflammation and cellular injury in the adrenal medulla. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of melatonin are indicative of a protective agent against adrenal damage in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.


    Yu Liu, George Lim Tipoe, Man Lung Fung. Melatonin attenuates intermittent hypoxia-induced lipid peroxidation and local inflammation in rat adrenal medulla. International journal of molecular sciences. 2014;15(10):18437-52

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    PMID: 25314303

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