OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of melatonin on diabetic retinopathy rats through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 48 Sprague Dawley (SD) rats were randomly divided into normal group (n=12), model group (n=12), melatonin group (n=12), and inhibitor group (n=12). The rats in normal group received no treatment. Those in model group, melatonin group, and inhibitor group were prepared into models of diabetic retinopathy and intraperitoneally injected with normal saline, melatonin, and SB 203580, respectively. After 7 days of intervention, the materials were taken. The expressions of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) were detected through immunohistochemistry. Western blotting was employed to determine the protein expression levels of p38 MAPK, phosphorylated (p)-p38 MAPK, and cysteinyl aspartate specific proteinase-3 (Caspase-3). The messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression levels of Bax and Bcl-2 were measured via quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR). Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was performed to detect the levels of serum interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. The apoptosis was determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick end-labeling (TUNEL).
RESULTS: Based on immunohistochemistry, model group, melatonin group, and inhibitor group exhibited significantly increased positive expression of Bax but notably decreased positive expression of Bcl-2 in comparison with normal group (p<0.05). Compared with those in model group, the positive expression of Bax was clearly reduced, while the positive expression of Bcl-2 was overtly raised in melatonin group and inhibitor group (p<0.05). The results of Western blotting showed that there was no difference in the protein expression of p38 MAPK among all groups (p>0.05). Compared with normal group, the other three groups had remarkably elevated protein expressions of p-p38 MAPK and Caspase-3 (p<0.05). The protein expressions of p-p38 MAPK and Caspase-3 in melatonin group and inhibitor group were significantly lower than those in model group decreased (p<0.05). QPCR assay revealed that the mRNA expression of Bax was markedly lower in normal group than that in the other three groups, while the mRNA expression of Bcl-2 was significantly higher in normal group than that in the other three groups (p<0.05). Compared with model group, melatonin group, and inhibitory group showed clearly declined mRNA expression level of Bax and notably increased mRNA expression level of Bcl-2 (p<0.05). TUNEL results revealed that the apoptosis rate was remarkably elevated in the other three groups compared with that in normal group (p<0.05). In comparison with model group, melatonin group and inhibitor group exhibited significantly reduced apoptosis rate (p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Melatonin inhibits the inflammation and apoptosis in rats with diabetic retinopathy by repressing the MAPK pathway.
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Y. Ma, Q. Zhao, Y. Shao, M.-Z. Cao, M. Zhao, D. Wang
Melatonin inhibits the inflammation and apoptosis in rats with diabetic retinopathy via MAPK pathway
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 23 - N. 3 Suppl