Melatonin decreases mortality following severe subarachnoid hemorrhage


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Abstract

Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a devastating disease that is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. There is substantial evidence to suggest that oxidative stress is significant in the development of acute brain injury following SAH. Melatonin is a strong antioxidant that has low toxicity and easily passes through the blood–brain barrier. Previous studies have shown that melatonin provides neuroprotection in animal models of ischemic stroke. This study hypothesizes that melatonin will provide neuroprotection when administered 2 hr after SAH. The filament perforation model of SAH was performed in male Sprague–Dawley rats weighing between 300 and 380 g. Melatonin (15 or 150 mg/kg), or vehicle was given via intraperitoneal injection 2 hr after SAH. Mortality and neurologic deficits were assessed 24 hr after SAH. A significant reduction in 24-hr mortality was seen following treatment with high dose melatonin. There was no improvement in neurologic scores with treatment. Brain water content and lipid peroxidation were measured following the administration of high dose melatonin to identify a mechanism for the increased survival. High dose melatonin tended to reduce brain water content following SAH, but had no effect on the lipid peroxidation of brain samples. Large doses of melatonin significantly reduces mortality and brain water content in rats following SAH through a mechanism unrelated to oxidative stress.

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