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NEUROENDOCRINOLOGY LETTERS
including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuropsychopharmacology,
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology, ISSN 0172–780X

NEL Vol.24 Nos.3/4, Jun-Aug 2003

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Running Title:
Melatonin stimulates lymphocytes

2003; 24:215223
pii: NEL243403A11
PMID: 14523360

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Melatonin supplementation restores cellular proliferation and DNA synthesis in the splenic and thymic lymphocytes of old rats

Gamal H. El-Sokkary,1 Russel J. Reiter 2 &
Sary Kh. Abdel-Ghaffar 3

1. Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt
2. Department of Cellular and Strucural Biology, The University of Texas Health Science Center, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX, USA.
3. Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt

Submitted: March 28, 2003
Accepted: April 13, 2003

Key words:
Autoradiography, 3H-thymidine, cell proliferation, DNA synthesis, lymphocytes, histopathology.

 

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: In this study we investigated the effect of melatonin treatment on the proliferative activity, the rate of DNA synthesis and the histopathological changes of splenic and thymic lymphocytes in old rats.

METHODS: Two subgroups of old rats (25-months-old) were used in this study. One subgroup was given melatonin in the drinking water (250–300 mg/day/rat) for 3 months while the second subgroup was given water containing diluent. A third group consisted of young rats (3-months-old) which served as an additional control.

RESULTS: A 3H-thymidine autoradiographic investigation showed a reduction in both the proliferative activity and the rate of DNA synthesis in splenic and thymic lymphocytes in old rats. In addition, light and electron microscopy showed severe histopathological changes in these cells from diluent-treated old rats. Melatonin administration increased the proliferative activity and the rate of DNA synthesis in the lymphocytes of both the spleen and thymus of the old animals. Also, histopatholgical changes were partially reversed by melatonin treatment with the tissues appearing similar to those in the young rats.

CONCLUSION: The stimulation of the lymphocyte activity by melatonin is a beneficial response, especially in old rats, since aging results in an inhibition in lymphocytic functions.

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