Protective effect of melatonin in carrageenan-induced models of local inflammation: Relationship to its inhibitory effect on nitric oxide production and its peroxynitrite scavenging activity

Salvatore Cuzzocrea, Basilia Zingarelli, Eli Gilad, Paul Hake, Andrew L. Salzman, Csaba Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

236 Scopus citations


In vitro studies have demonstrated that melatonin is a scavenger of oxyradicals and peroxynitrite and an inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) production. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of melatonin treatment in two models of acute inflammation (carrageenan-induced paw edema and pleurisy), where oxyradicals, NO, and peroxynitrite play a crucial role in the inflammatory process. Our data show that melatonin (given at 62.5 and 125 μg/paw in the paw edema model or 25 and 50 mg/ kg in the pleurisy model) inhibits the inflammatory response (paw swelling, pleural exudate formation, mononuclear cell infiltration, and histological injury) in dose-dependent manner in both models. Furthermore, our data suggest that melatonin exerts an inhibitory effect on the expression of the inducible isoform of NO synthase. Melatonin also prevented the formation of nitrotyrosine, an indicator of peroxynitrite, in both models of inflammation. Taken together, the present results demonstrate that melatonin exerts potent antiinflammatory effects. Part of these antiinflammatory effects may be related to an inhibition of the expression of the inducible NO synthase, while another part may be related to oxyradical and peroxynitrite scavenging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pineal Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes



  • Carrageenan
  • Hydroxyl radical
  • Inflammation
  • Melatonin
  • Nitric oxide
  • Peroxynitrite
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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