Time-Dependent Proregenerative Effects of Exogenous Melatonin on the Transected Sciatic Nerve

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Esad Cosovic; Dina Kapic; Almira Lujinovic; Maida Sahinovic; Selma Alicelebic; Samra Custovic; Visnja Muzika & Azra Metovic


Microsurgical procedures are the treatment of choice of peripheral nerve injuries, but often fail to reach full functional recovery. Melatonin has neuroprotective actions and might be used as a possible proregenerative pharmacological support. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the time-dependence of the neuroprotective effect of melatonin on the overall fascicular structures of both ends of the transected nerve. Sciatic nerve transection was performed in 34 adult male Wistar rats divided in four groups: two vehicle groups (N=7) treated intraperitoneally for 7 (V7) or 21 (V21) consecutive days with vehicle (5 % ethanol in Ringer solution) and two melatonin groups (N=10) administered intraperitoneally 30 mg/kg of melatonin for 7 (M7) or 21 (M21) consecutive days. At the end of the experiment, proximal stump neuroma and distal stump fibroma were excised and processed for qualitative and quantitative histological analysis. Intrafascicular neural structures were better preserved and the collagen deposition was reduced in the melatonin treated groups than in the vehicle groups. Myelin sheath regeneration observed through its thickness measurement was statistically significantly (p<0,05) more pronounced in the M21 (1,23±0,18 μm) vs. V21 group (0,98±0,13 μm). The mean volume density of the endoneurium was lower in both melatonin treated groups in comparison to the matching vehicle treated groups. Although not statistically different, the endoneural tube diameter was larger in both melatonin groups vs. vehicle groups, and the effect of melatonin was more pronounced after 21 days (24,97 % increase) vs. 7 days of melatonin treatment (18,8 % increase). Melatonin exerts a time-dependent proregenerative effect on nerve fibers in the proximal stump and an anti-scarring effect in both stumps.

KEY WORDS: Nerve transection; Melatonin; Myelin sheath; Endoneurium.

How to cite this article

COSOVIC, E.; KAPIC, D.; LUJINOVIC, A.; SAHINOVIC, M.; ALICELEBIC, S.; CUSTOVIC, S.; MUZIKA, V. & METOVIC, A. Time-dependent proregenerative effects of exogenous melatonin on the transected sciatic nerve. Int. J. Morphol., 41(1):188-194, 2023.