Cytoprotection by melatonin and growth hormone in early rat myocardial infarction as revealed by Feulgen DNA staining.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the cytoprotective effect of melatonin or recombinant human growth hormone (hGH) on the early phase of a running myocardial infarction in rats by using the Feulgen staining.

METHODS: Rats were subjected to surgical ligature of the left coronary artery or its sham-operation and were studied 1.5 3 h later. Melatonin was administered in the drinking water (100 microg/ml water) for 7 days before surgery. Recombinant hGH (2 IU/kg) was given ip at the time of surgery. Feulgen-stained histological cardiac sections were examined by light microscopy and image analysis.

RESULTS: Infarcted rats receiving vehicle exhibited large, diffuse cardiac lesions with a marked positivity for Feulgen reaction. About 18 20% of the total area recorded became injured 1.5 or 3 h after infarction, respectively. Infarcted rats treated with melatonin or hGH, or the combination of both, and killed 3 h after surgery, showed cardiac sections with scattered lesions and only a few isolated injured muscle fibers. A similar effectiveness of melatonin and hGH, alone or in combination, to decrease injured area by 86 87% and the number of cardiac lesions by 75 80% was observed.

CONCLUSION: A significant cytoprotective effect of melatonin or hGH is demonstrable in an early phase of myocardial infarction in rats.

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