Long-term melatonin administration reduces hyperinsulinemia and improves the altered fatty-acid compositions in type 2 diabetic rats via the restoration of Δ-5 desaturase activity

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The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of long-term melatonin administration on plasma levels of triglycerides, insulin and leptin, and on the fatty-acid metabolism of plasma and hepatic lipids in type 2 diabetic rats. Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats, an animal model of type 2 diabetes mellitus, were divided into two groups: one untreated (n = 6), and one implanted with time-releasing melatonin pellets (1.1 mg/day for 30 wk) under the abdominal skin (n = 6). Age-matched Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats (n = 6) were used as healthy controls. The untreated diabetic rats had the increased plasma levels of triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin and leptin at 35 wk, as compared with the healthy control rats (n = 6). The diabetic rats also had augmented ratios of 20:3n-6/20:4n-6 fatty acids, owing to diminished activity of Δ-5 desaturase, an insulin-permissive enzyme, in the liver. Melatonin administration to OLETF rats reduced the hypertriglyceridemia (−39%, P < 0.05), hyperinsulinemia (−33%, P < 0.01) and hyperleptinemia (–43%, P < 0.01), and restored hepatic Δ-5 desaturase activity (148%, P < 0.005). This resulted in a return to normal ratios of 20:3n-6/20:4n-6 fatty acids in plasma and hepatic lipids. There was a significant correlation (r = 0.64, P < 0.005) between plasma levels of insulin and the ratios of 20:3n-6/20:4n-6 in plasma phospholipids of all rats in the three groups. Thus, subcutaneous implantation of a melatonin-releasing pellet thus resulted in improved lipid metabolism in diabetic rats, probably through restored insulin resistance.ALP, alkaline phosphataseGOT, glutamic oxalacetic transaminaseGPT, glutamic pyruvic transaminaseHPLC, high performance liquid chromatographyLETO rats, Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka ratsMUFA, monounsaturated fatty acidOLETF rats, Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty ratsPUFA, polyunsaturated fatty acidVLDL, very low density lipoprotein

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