Send to

Choose Destination
Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Mar;2(1):6-12. doi: 10.3342/ceo.2009.2.1.6. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Antioxidant and anti-apoptotic effect of melatonin on the vestibular hair cells of rat utricles.

Author information

Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Dankook University, Cheonan, Korea.



Aminoglycosides are commonly used antibiotic agents, and they are known to generate free oxygen radicals within the inner ear and to cause vestibulo-cochlear toxicity and permanent damage to the sensory hair cells and neurons. Melatonin, a pineal secretory product, has the properties of being a powerful direct and indirect antioxidant. The aim of the present study was to prove the antioxidant effect of melatonin against gentamicin-induced ototoxicty.


The utricular maculae of Sprague-Dawley rats were prepared from postnatal day 2-4, and these maculae were were divided into 6 groups as follows: 1) control, 2) melatonin only, 3) gentamicin only, and 4), 5), and 6) gentamicin plus melatonin (10, 50, and 100 microM, respectively). To count the number of hair cells, 5 utricles from each group were stained with phalloidin-FITC on the 1st, 4th, and 7th days after drug administration. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) was assessed by using the fluorescent probe hydrofluorescent diacetate acetyl ester. The caspase-3 activity was also examined with using the fluorescent caspase-3 substrate and performing Western blotting.


The result of this study showed that gentamicin induced the loss of utricular hair cells, and this loss of hair cells was significantly attenuated by co-administration of melatonin. Melatonin reduced ROS production and caspase-3 activation in the gentamicin treated utricular hair cells.


Our findings conclusively reveal that melatonin has protective effects against gentamicin-induced hair cell loss in the utricles of rat by inhibiting both ROS production and caspase-3 activity.


Antioxidants; Melatonin; Ototoxicity; Utricle

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Korean Society of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center