JOURNAL OF PINEAL RESEARCH, vol.36, no.1, pp.58-63, 2004 (SCI-Expanded)
Random pattern skin flaps are still widely used in plastic surgery. However, necrosis in the distal portion resulting from ischemia is a serious problem, increasing the cost of treatment and hospitalization. Free oxygen radicals and increased neutrophil accumulation play an important role in tissue injury and may lead to partial or complete flap necrosis. To enhance skin flap viability, a variety of pharmacological agents have been intensively investigated. The aim of this study is to test the effects of melatonin, the chief secretory product of the pineal gland and a highly effective antioxidant, on random pattern skin flap survival in rats. Herein, to investigate the physiological and pharmacological role of melatonin on dorsal skin flap survival. Pharmacological (0.4, 4 and 40 mg/kg) levels of melatonin were given intraperitoneally (i.p.). For this, pinealectomized (Px) and sham operated (non-Px) rats were used. The effects of melatonin on levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NO), glutathione (GSH) and the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were measured in the skin flap. The ratio of skin flap necrosis was compared among the experimental groups by using planimetry. MDA and NO levels were found to be higher in Px than non-Px rats; while GSH levels and GSH-Px, and SOD activities were reduced. Melatonin administration to Px rats reduced MDA and NO levels and increased GSH, GSH-Px, SOD levels. Melatonin also reduced the ratio of flap necrosis determined by using planimetry and supported through the photography. In conclusion, these results show that both physiological and pharmacological concentrations of melatonin improve skin flap viability.