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Tohoku J Exp Med. 2000 Aug;191(4):241-6.

Protective effect of melatonin on methylmercury-Induced mortality in mice.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


Effect of melatonin on the mortality in methylmercury chloride (MMC)-intoxicated mice was evaluated. Mice were given MMC in the diet (40 mg Hg/g) with or without melatonin in drinking water (20 mg/ml) for 5 weeks. In the control group, given MMC alone, 4 of 10 mice began to show neurological signs (e.g., abnormal righting reflex, staggering gaitfallen and posture on its side) concomitant with loss of body weight 4-7 days before death. This group also showed 60% of survival rate on the 35th day. However, the treated group, concomitantly given melatonin, showed a 100% of survival rate on the 35th day, although 1 of 10 mice began to show the neurological signs on the 33rd day. The level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substance in the brain, as an indication of oxidative damage, showed a significant decrease in the treated group compared with the control group. Thus, the 100% survival rate in the treated group may be partly due to antioxidative effect of melatonin on the MMC induced neurotoxicity.

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