Content of protein carbonyl groups in gerbil brain after reversible bilateral carotid occlusion: effect of 2,3-dihydromelatonin.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether a new derivative of melatonin, (2,3-dihydromelatonin (DHM), prevented the oxidative stress induced by ischemia /reperfusion (I/R) in the gerbil brain. To specify the effect on endogenous antioxidant activity and protein modification in the brain cortex, we evaluated the contents of glutathione (total GSx=GSH+GSSG) and protein carbonyl groups (PCG).

METHODS: Brain ischemia (I) was induced by (12 min) bilateral carotid occlusion (BCAO) in adult male gerbils (60-70 g b wt.) DHM (10 mg/kg) was administered i.p. 20 min before surgery, at the beginning of reperfusion (R), and then 2 and 6 hours later. Horizontal locomotor activity was recorded using the open-field test over the course of 24 hours. Contents of GSx and PCG were determined after 6h of reperfusion. Glutathione (GSx ) was determined spectrophotometrically using the microplate reader, lactate by the kit Randox, UK. The measurement of protein carbonyl (PCG) groups after their derivatization with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH) is the most widely used assessment of protein oxidation. The contents of PCG and malondialdehyde (MDA) were assayed spectrophotometrically.

RESULTS: Evaluation of the data obtained from horizontal locomotor activity recorded over the course of 24 hours using the open-field test showed that hyperactivity induced by I/R was returned by DHM almost to its control value during the interval of up to 6 hours (from 18,000 to 5,000 cm distance traveled, p<0.05). I/R decreased the content of GSx by 27.2% (p<0.001). Administration of DHM resulted in maintaining the content of GSx at control values (p<0.05). DHM diminished the I/R-induced increase in PCG in the cortex by 34.2% (p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that the effect of DHM on the content of glutathione and protein carbonyl groups occurred during the first 6 hours of reperfusion. In this time interval both the content of GSx and protein carbonyl groups seem to be sensitive indicators of I/R-induced oxidative stress in the gerbil brain.