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J Pineal Res. 2005 Oct;39(3):266-75.

Melatonin neutralizes neurotoxicity induced by quinolinic acid in brain tissue culture.

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Departamento de Morfología y Biología Celular, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.


Quinolinic acid is a well-known excitotoxin that induces oxidative stress and damage. In the present study, oxidative damage to biomolecules was followed by measuring lipid peroxidation and protein carbonyl formation in rat brain tissue culture over a period of 24 hr of exposure to this prooxidant agent at a concentration of 0.5 mm. Quinolinic acid enhanced lipid peroxidation in an early stage of tissue culture, and protein carbonyl at a later stage. These data confirm and extend previous studies demonstrating that quinolinic acid can induce significant oxidative damage. Melatonin, an antioxidant and neuroprotective agent with multiple actions as a radical scavenger and signaling molecule, completely prevented these prooxidant actions of quinolinic acid at a concentration of 1 mm. Morphological lesions and neurotoxicity induced by quinolinic acid were evaluated by light microscopy. Quinolinic acid produced extensive apoptosis/necrosis which was significantly attenuated by melatonin. Cotreatment with melatonin exerted a profound protective effect antagonizing the neurotoxicity induced by quinolinic acid. Glutathione reductase and catalase activities were increased by quinolinic acid and these effects were antagonized by melatonin. Furthermore, melatonin induced superoxide dismutase activity. Quinolinic acid and melatonin acted independently and by different mechanisms in modulating antioxidant enzyme activities. Our findings using quinolinic acid and melatonin clearly demonstrate that such changes should always be seen in the context of oxidative neurotoxicity and antioxidant neuroprotection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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