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Melatonin receptor activation provides cerebral protection after traumatic brain injury by mitigating oxidative stress and inflammation via the Nrf2 signaling pathway

Journal article
Authors J. M. Wang
C. Jiang
K. Zhang
X. Lan
X. M. Chen
W. D. Zang
Z. Y. Wang
F. X. Guan
Changlian Zhu
X. L. Yang
H. Lu
J. Wang
Jove J. Vis Exp Jan N A
Published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Volume 131
Pages 345-355
ISSN 0891-5849
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 345-355
Language en
Keywords Chronotherapy, Inflammation, NF-E2-related factor, Oxidative stress, Ramelteon, Traumatic brain, mononuclear-cell transplantation, intracerebral hemorrhage, rat model, possible involvement, ramelteon tak-375, up-regulation, neuroinflammation, neuroprotection, agonist, sleep, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Endocrinology & Metabolism, ates of america, v107, p6412
Subject categories Endocrinology, Neurology


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a principal cause of death and disability worldwide. Melatonin, a hormone made by the pineal gland, is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In this study, using a weight-drop model of TBI, we investigated the protective effects of ramelteon, a melatonin MT1/MT2 receptor agonist, and its underlying mechanisms of action. Administration of ramelteon (10 mg/kg) daily at 10:00 a.m. alleviated TBI-induced early brain damage on day 3 and long-term neurobehavioral deficits on day 28 in C57BL/6 mice. Ramelteon also increased the protein levels of interleukin (IL)-10, IL-4, superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione, and glutathione peroxidase and reduced the protein levels of IL-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor, and malondialdehyde in brain tissue and serum on days 1, 3, and 7 post-TBI. Similarly, ramelteon attenuated microglial and astrocyte activation in the perilesional cortex on day 3. Furthermore, ramelteon decreased Keap 1 expression, promoted nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) nuclear accumulation, and increased levels of downstream proteins, including SOD-1, heme oxygenase-1, and NQO1 on day 3 post-TBI. However, in Nrf2 knockout mice with TBI, ramelteon did not decrease the lesion volume, neuronal degeneration, or myelin loss on day 3; nor did it mitigate depression-like behavior or most motor behavior deficits on day 28. Thus, timed ramelteon treatment appears to prevent inflammation and oxidative stress via the Nrf2-antioxidant response element pathway and might represent a potential chronotherapeutic strategy for treating TBI.

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