In rats with experimental colitis, the marked increase in bacterial translocation in postcolitis rats has been reversed by melatonin administration. This is due to melatonin’s anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects.
Using an elegant study design, including experimental colitis model, this research was performed by doctors from the Departments of General Surgery, Microbiology, Pathology and Biochemistry of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey.
This study, performed by a team led by Dr. Alper Akcan, is described in a research article in the February 14 2008 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
According to the authors, the purpose of this study was to determine whether exogenously administered melatonin had any influence on the impairment of bacterial translocation and apoptosis in experimental colitis. To their knowledge, their study is the first one showing the relation between colitis, melatonin, and bacterial translocation.
The exact pathogenesis in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is poorly understood, but evidence exists that IBD involves interactions between immune system, genetic susceptibility and the environment. In IBDs, the intestinal mucosal barrier is disrupted by inflammation and ulceration. In these circumstances, translocation of enteric bacteria and their products through the bowel wall to extra-intestinal sterile sites may result. Bacterial translocation may cause secondary infection of intra-abdominal inflammatory processes, such as intra-abdominal abscesses, or peritonitis. Recent studies have, however, shown the important role of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, including melatonin, in IBDs.
Melatonin is an agent that promotes sleep and is produced at night by the pineal gland. While produced primarily in the pineal gland, melatonin can also be found in cells of the bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract and plays a fundamental role in the neuroimmuno-endocrine system. In most of the published studies an antioxidative effect, improved microcirculation and a stimulation of intestinal epithelium may also apply in the preventive or therapeutic effect of melatonin on the symptoms of colitis induced in rats has been documented.
Further research should explain the similar effects of melatonin in humans.
Reference: Akcan A, Kucuk C, Sozuer E, Esel D, Akyildiz H, Akgun H, Muhtaroglu S, Aritas Y. Melatonin reduces bacterial translocation and apoptosis in trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis of rats. World J Gastroenterol 2008; 14(6): 918-924 http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/14/918.asp
Correspondence to: Alper Akcan, MD, Department of General Surgery, Erciyes University School of Medicine, Kayseri 38039, Turkey. firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +90-533-7430357 Fax: +90-352-4375273
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World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H pylori infection for providing a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2003-2000 IF: 3.318, 2.532, 1.445 and 0.993. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. The WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.
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