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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2003 Mar;35(3):359-66.

Melatonin preserves arachidonic and docosapentaenoic acids during ascorbate-Fe2+ peroxidation of rat testis microsomes and mitochondria.

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Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Cátedra de Bioqui;mica, Universidad Nacional de La Plata CC 296, B1900 AVW La Plata, Argentina.


The pineal hormone melatonin (N-acetyl, 5-methoxytryptamine) was recently accepted to act as an antioxidant under both in vivo and in vitro conditions. In this study, we examined the possible preventive effect of melatonin on ascorbate-Fe(2+) lipid peroxidation of rat testis microsomes and mitochondria. Special attention was paid to the changes produced on the highly polyunsaturated fatty acids C20:4 n6 and C22:5 n6. The lipid peroxidation of testis microsomes or mitochondria produced a significant decrease of C20:4 n6 and C22:5 n6. The light emission (chemiluminescence) used as a marker of lipid peroxidation was similar in both kinds of organelles when the control and peroxidized groups were compared. Both long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids were protected when melatonin was incorporated either in microsomes or mitochondria. The melatonin concentration required to inhibit by 100% the lipid peroxidation process was 5.0 and 1.0mM in rat testis microsomes and mitochondria, respectively. IC 50 values calculated from the inhibition curve of melatonin on the chemiluminescence rates were higher in microsomes (4.98 mM) than in mitochondria (0.67 mM). The protective effect observed by melatonin in rat testis mitochondria was higher than that observed in microsomes which could be explained if we consider that the sum of C20:4 n6+C22:5 n6 in testis microsomes is two-fold greater than present in mitochondria.

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