Abstract Title:

Melatonin rescues cardiovascular dysfunction during hypoxic development in the chick embryo.

Abstract Source:

J Pineal Res. 2015 Oct 7. Epub 2015 Oct 7. PMID: 26444711

Abstract Author(s):

Nozomi Itani, Katie L Skeffington, Christian Beck, Youguo Niu, Dino A Giussani

Article Affiliation:

Nozomi Itani


There is a search for rescue therapy against fetal origins of cardiovascular disease in pregnancy complicated by chronic fetal hypoxia, particularly following clinical diagnosis of fetal growth restriction (FGR). Melatonin protects the placenta in adverse pregnancy, however, whether melatonin protects the fetal heart and vasculature in hypoxic pregnancy independent of effects on the placenta is unknown. Whether melatonin can rescue fetal cardiovascular dysfunction when treatment commences following FGR diagnosis is also unknown. We isolated the effects of melatonin on the developing cardiovascular system of the chick embryo during hypoxic incubation. We tested the hypothesis that melatonin directly protects the fetal cardiovascular system in adverse development and that it can rescue dysfunction following FGR diagnosis. Chick embryos were incubated under normoxia or hypoxia (14% O2 ) from day 1± melatonin treatment (1mg.kg.(-1) .d(-1) ) from day 13 of incubation (term ~21 days). Melatonin in hypoxic chick embryos rescued cardiac systolic dysfunction, impaired cardiac contractility and relaxability, increased cardiac sympathetic dominance and endothelial dysfunction in peripheral circulations. The mechanisms involved included reduced oxidative stress, enhanced antioxidant capacity and restored VEGF expression and NO bioavailability. Melatonin treatment of the chick embryo starting at day 13 of incubation, equivalent to ca. 25 weeks of gestation in human pregnancy, rescues early origins of cardiovascular dysfunction during hypoxic development. Melatonin may be a suitable antioxidant candidate for translation to human therapy to protect the fetal cardiovascular system in adverse pregnancy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Study Type : Animal Study

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Sayer Ji
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