Melatonin has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and mitigate hypercoagulability. We hypothesized that maternally administered melatonin may reduce placental oxidative stress and hypercoagulability associated with exposure to intrauterine inflammation (IUI) and consequently improve fetoplacental blood flow and fetal sequelae.
Mice were randomized to the following groups: control (C), melatonin (M), lipopolysaccharide (LPS; a model of IUI) (L), and LPS with melatonin (ML). The expression of antioxidant mediators in the placenta was significantly decreased, while that of pro-inflammatory mediators was significantly increased in L compared to C and ML. The systolic/diastolic ratio, resistance index, and pulsatility index in uterine artery (UtA) and umbilical artery (UA) were significantly increased in L compared with other groups when analyzed by Doppler ultrasonography. The expression of antioxidant mediators in the placenta was significantly decreased, while that of pro-inflammatory mediators was significantly increased in L compared to C and ML. Vascular endothelial damage and thrombi formation, as evidenced by fibrin deposits, were similarly increased in L compared to other groups. Maternal pretreatment with melatonin appears to modulate maternal placental malperfusion, fetal cardiovascular compromise, and fetal neuroinflammation induced by IUI through its antioxidant properties.