This study evaluated the receptor- and/or antioxidant stress-mediated mechanisms by which melatonin prevents the ovarian toxicity of cisplatin treatment. The expression of the MT1 receptor in mouse ovaries was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Pretreatment with melatonin (5, 10, or 20 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) before cisplatin (5 mg/kg body weight, i.p.) was administered to mice once daily for 3 days (phase I). The pharmacological modulation via melatonin type 1 and/or 2 receptors was analyzed by administration of receptor antagonists (luzindole: nonselective MT1/MT2 antagonist; 5 mg/kg body weight or 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin: selective MT2 antagonist; 4mg/kg body weight) once daily for 3 days, 15 min before the treatment with melatonin and cisplatin (phase II). Thereafter, the ovaries were harvested and used for histological (morphology and activation), immunohistochemical (PCNA, activated caspase-3 and bcl-2 expression), terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling, and fluorescence (reactive oxygen species [ROS], glutathione [GSH], and active mitochondria levels) analyses. The expression of the MT1 protein in mouse ovaries was documented. Pretreatment with 20 mg/kg melatonin before cisplatin administration preserved the normal follicular morphology and cell proliferation rate, reduced apoptosis, ROS production, mitochondrial damage and increased GSH expression, as compared to the cisplatin treatment alone. Additionally, administration of the nonselective MT1/MT2 receptor antagonist inhibited the melatonin ovarian protection from the cytotoxic effects of cisplatin. However, administration of a selective MT2 antagonist did not modify the protective effects observed at 20 mg/kg melatonin. In conclusion, pretreatment with 20 mg/kg melatonin effectively protected the ovaries against cisplatin-induced damage. Moreover, the MT1 receptor and melatonin antioxidant effects mediated this cytoprotective activity.
Melatonin attenuated cisplatin-induced ovarian damage in mice, and the MT1 receptor could be used as a promising therapeutic target to the development of novel agents for preserving ovarian function during chemotherapy.