Melatonin promotes myelination by decreasing white matter inflammation after neonatal stroke

Sonia Villapol, Sébastien Fau, Sylvain Renolleau, Valérie Biran, Christiane Charriaut-Marlangue, Olivier Baud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Melatonin demonstrates neuroprotective properties in adult models of cerebral ischemia, acting as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. We investigated the effect of melatonin in a 7-d-old rat model of ischemia-reperfusion, leading to both cortical infarct and injury in the underlying white matter observed using MRI and immunohistochemistry. Melatonin was given i.p. as either a single dose before ischemia or a double-dose regimen, combining one before ischemia and one 24 h after reperfusion. At 48 h after injury, neither a significant reduction in cortical infarct volume nor a variation in the number of TUNEL- and nitrotyrosine-positive cells within the ipsilateral lesion was observed in melatonin-treated animals compared with controls. However, a decrease in the density of tomato lectin-positive cells after melatonin treatment was found in the white matter underlying cortical lesion. Furthermore, we showed a marked increase in the myelin basic protein-immunoreactivity in the cingulum and in the density of mature oligodendrocytes (APC-immunoreactive) in both the ipsilateral cingulum and external capsule. These results suggest that melatonin is not able to reduce cortical infarct volume in a neonatal stroke model but strongly reduces inflammation and promotes subsequent myelination in the white matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-5
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Animals
  • Brain Infarction
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Melatonin
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Myelin Sheath
  • Myelitis
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Oligodendroglia
  • Plant Lectins
  • Rats
  • Reperfusion Injury
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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