Previous reports documented demonstrated that melatonin, a free radical scavenger, is important in protecting against oxidative stress-induced tissue damage after spinal cord injury (SCI). This study was undertaken to investigate the effects of pinealectomy (PX) and administration of exogenous melatonin after SCI in rats.
These animals were randomized into six groups, each having 12 rats. Group 1 underwent laminectomy alone. Group 2 underwent laminectomy followed by SCI and received no medication. Group 3 underwent laminectomy followed by SCI and received melatonin. Group 4 underwent PX and laminectomy alone. Group 5 underwent PX and laminectomy followed by SCI and received no medication. Group 6 underwent PX and laminectomy followed by SCI and received melatonin. Melatonin (100 mg/kg) was given intraperitoneally immediately after trauma to the rats in the groups 3 and 6.
PX caused a significant increase in the malondialdehyde (MDA), nitrite oxide (NO), glutathione (GSH), xanthine oxidase (XO) levels and decrease in GSH levels as compared with the control group. Trauma to the spinal cord results in significantly higher oxidative stress. Melatonin administration significantly reduced MDA, XO and NO levels, and increased GSH levels in the spinal cord after trauma. Exogenous melatonin treatment after trauma attenuated tissue lesion area and accelerated motor recovery rate. These findings suggest that reduction in endogenous melatonin after PX makes the rats more vulnerable to trauma and exogenous melatonin administration has an important neuroprotective effect on the level of the spinal cord.