BACKGROUND: In the course of the last few years, various studies have researched the relations linking melatonin (MLT) with hematopoiesis and the immune-hematopoietic system. Nevertheless, to date there are numerous issues still opened and many questions are yet unanswered. Much emphasis has been recently placed on the reducing role of MLT, which has been demonstrated by many studies to mitigate the genotoxic damage inflicted by various alkylating agents. Although in vitro MLT has shown to be effective in limiting the cytological alterations provoked by chemotherapeutic drugs, some clinical studies seem to point to a somewhat lower effectiveness in countering chemotherapy-induced leukopenia and anemia.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the activity exerted by pharmacological doses of MLT in limiting leukopenia, anemia and other hemocytometric modifications in animals facing acute toxicity caused by the treatment with cyclophosphamide (CP). Moreover, we have compared the activity of MLT with well-known alpha-tocopherol/ascorbic acid antioxidant system.
RESULTS: Our results indicate that overall MLT exerts a remarkable countering activity towards leukopenia and anemia in the early phase of administration of CP.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest possible active involvement of MLT in hematopoiesis and erythrocyte- and leukocyte turnover. This paper summarizes the essential aspects of the available literature, researching the possible relations between MLT and immune-hematopoietic system.