Treatment by N-acetylcysteine and melatonin increases cardiac baroreflex and improves antioxidant reserve*

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Background:The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of melatonin and N-acetylcysteine on the baroreflex sensitivity and to verify whether those effects were correlated with their antioxidant capacity in Wistar-Kyoto and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).Methods:Rats were treated with 30 mg/kg/day of melatonin or 4 g/kg/day of N-acetylcysteine for 4 weeks. Changes in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, plasma norepinephrine, and epinephrine were measured in conscious rats after an intravenous injection of phenylephrine or sodium nitroprusside.Results:The SHR were characterized by decreased reflex chronotropic responses to phenylephrine and sodium nitroprusside (P < .001 and P < .001), as well as by an enhanced increase in plasma catecholamine concentrations in response to sodium nitroprusside (P < .001). Melatonin and N-acetylcysteine produced a significant reduction in mean arterial pressure and heart rate in SHR (P < .001). Melatonin and N-acetylcysteine improved bradycardic (P < .001) and tachycardic (P < .001) baroreflex responses in SHR without modifying catecholamine responses. The antioxidant reserve, which was reduced in SHR as reflected by the lower glutathione peroxidase activity in plasma (P < .05), was normalized by N-acetylcysteine and melatonin (P < .05). N-acetylcysteine (P < .001) and melatonin (P < .05) increased glutathione peroxidase activity in erythrocytes from SHR.Conclusions:The results of the present study suggest that melatonin and n-acetylcysteine improve the baroreflex response in SHR in correlation with the antioxidant effects of these substances.

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