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Effects of melatonin in an experimental model of ventilator-induced lung injury


Melatonin is a hormone with antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects. We studied the effects of melatonin treatment on lung damage, inflammation and oxidative stress in a model of ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI).


Forty-eight Swiss mice were randomized into three experimental groups: control, low-pressure ventilation (peak pressure 15 cmH2O) or high-pressure ventilation (peak pressure 25 cmH2O). Within each group, eight mice were treated with melatonin (10 mg/kg) and eight mice with placebo. After 2 hours, lung injury was evaluated by gas exchange and histological analysis. Tissue levels of malondialdehyde and IL-6 and IL-10 were measured as indicators of lipid peroxidation and inflammation. Variables were compared using a two-way ANOVA. P < 0.05 was considered significant.


See Table 1. Ventilation with high pressures induced severe lung damage and release of IL-6. Treatment with melatonin improved oxygenation and decreased histological lung injury, but significantly increased oxidative stress quantified by malondialdehyde levels. The increase of IL-10 observed after melatonin treatment could be responsible for the differences. There were no differences in IL-6 caused by melatonin.

Table 1


Melatonin reduces VILI by increasing the anti-inflammatory response. The combination of high pressure and melatonin increased oxidative stress.

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Pedreira, P., Garcia-Prieto, E., Parra, D. et al. Effects of melatonin in an experimental model of ventilator-induced lung injury. Crit Care 12, P288 (2008).

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  • Placebo
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Melatonin
  • Lung Injury