Melatonin, the receptors for which are abundant in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), can protect the heart from myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (MI/R) injury. The aim of this study was to determine whether the infusion of melatonin into the PVN protects the heart from MI/R injury by suppressing oxidative stress or regulating the balance between proinflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines in MI/R rats.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with a bilateral PVN infusion of melatonin. MI/R operation was performed 1 week after infusion. At the end of the third week after the infusion, all the rats were euthanized. This was followed by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence studies of the rats. MI/R rats showed larger infarct size, increased left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic volume, and decreased LV ejection fraction and LV fractional shortening. Moreover, MI/R rats had a higher level of norepinephrine in the plasma, heart, and PVN; higher PVN levels of reactive oxygen species, NOX2, NOX4, IL-1β, and NF-κB activity; and lower PVN levels of copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD) and IL-10 compared with the sham group. Melatonin infusion in PVN reduced LV end-diastolic volume, norepinephrine, reactive oxygen species, NOX2, NOX4, IL-1β, and NF-κB activity, and increased LV ejection fraction, LV fractional shortening, Cu/Zn-SOD, and IL-10. Overall, these results suggest that the infusion of melatonin ameliorates sympathetic nerve activity and MI/R injury by attenuating oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines in the PVN of MI/R rats.