Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 209-217

Melatonin prevents the dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota in sleep-restricted mice by improving oxidative stress and inhibiting inflammation

Laboratory of Neurobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Haidian, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Yaoxing Chen
College of Veterinary Medicine, China Agricultural University, Haidian, Beijing - 100193
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjg.sjg_110_21

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Background: Intestinal inflammation caused by sleep restriction (SR) threatens human health. However, radical cure of intestinal inflammatory conditions is considerably difficult. This study focuses on the effect of melatonin on SR-induced intestinal inflammation and microbiota imbalance in mice. Methods: We successfully established a water platform to induce long-term SR in mice for 28 days with or without melatonin supplementation. The SR-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory changes were evaluated in plasma and jejunum tissue samples using in vitro assays. Additionally, changes in the intestinal microbiota were explored using high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Results: After 20 h of chronic sleep restriction for 28 consecutive days, plasma melatonin was significantly reduced by 48.91% (P < 0.05), while GLU, NE, and CORT were significantly increased (34.32%–90.28%, P < 0.05). The activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, GSH-Px, and CAT) and T-AOC in intestinal tissues of SR mice were decreased (17.02%–40.92%, P < 0.05), while the content of MDA was increased (15.12%, P = 0.0089). The levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and TNF-α) ware increased (65.27%–123.26%, P < 0.05), while the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10 and IFN-γ) were decreased (26.53%–60.41%, P < 0.05). High-throughput pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA from jejunum samples demonstrated an overall increase in the number of OTUs (30.68%, P = 0.015). The α-diversity (Shannon, ACE and Chao1) of jejunum was increased (28.18%–48.95%, P < 0.05), and the β-diversity (PCoA and NMDS) was significantly different from that of the control group (P = 0.001). Furthermore, the prevalences of Helicobacter and Clostridium were higher, whereas that of Bacteroidetes and Lactobacillus were lower in SR mice than in controls (P < 0.05). However, melatonin supplementation reversed the SR-induced changes and improved oxidative stress, inflammatory response, and microbiota dysbiosis in the jejunum, and there was not significant difference compared with the control group (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Melatonin prevents the dysbiosis of intestinal microbiota in SR mice by improving oxidative stress and inhibiting inflammation. Our results may provide a theoretical basis for conducting clinical research on insufficient sleep leading to intestinal health in humans and hence facilitate a better understanding of the role of melatonin.

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