First evidence of the protective role of melatonin in counteracting cadmium toxicity in the rat ovary via the mTOR pathway.
Environ Pollut. 2020 Nov 9:116056. Epub 2020 Nov 9. PMID: 33199064
Herein, the first evidence of the ability of melatonin (MLT) to counteract cadmium (Cd) toxic effects on the rat ovary is reported. Cd treatment, enhancing oxidative stress, provoked clear morphological, histological and biomolecular alterations, i.e. in the estrous cycle duration, in the ovarian and serum Econcentration other than in the steroidogenic and folliculogenic genes expression. Results demonstrated that the use of MLT, in combination with Cd, avoided the changes, strongly suggesting that it is an efficient antioxidant for preventing oxidative stress in the rat ovary. Moreover, to explore the underlying mechanism involved, at molecular level, in the effects of Cd-MLT interaction, the study focused on the mTOR and ERK1/2 pathways. Interestingly, data showed that Cd influenced the phosphorylation status of mTOR, of its downstream effectors and of ERK1/2, inducing autophagy and apoptosis, while cotreatment with MLT nullified these changes. This work highlights the beneficial role exerted by MLT in preventing Cd-induced toxicity in the rat ovary, encouraging further studies to confirm its action on human ovarian health with the aim to use this indolamine to ameliorate oocyte quality in women with fertility disorders.