Objectives: Diabetes mellitus is associated with oxidative stress that leads to inflammation and diabetic nephropathy. This study aimed to determine the possible renoprotective effects of the antioxidants melatonin, vitamin D and vitamin E in diabetic rats.
Methods: We divided 108 albino rats into 12 groups. G1 group was fed a normal diet and did not receive any medication. G2 to G4 consisted of non-diabetic rats that were treated as follows: G2 with melatonin; G3 with vitamin E; G4 with vitamin D. Groups G5 to G12 consisted of diabetic rats that were treated as follows: G5 received no medication; G6 treated with insulin; G7 treated with melatonin; G8 treated with melatonin and insulin; G9 treated with vitamin E; G10 treated with vitamin E and insulin; G11 treated with vitamin D and G12 treated with vitamin D and insulin. Two months after treatment commenced, histological and biochemical examinations of glucose profile, oxidative stress status, renal function, homocysteine and TNF-α were performed.
Results: Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) increased significantly in groups G2, 7, 8, 10 and 11. TNF-α significantly increased in G2, but decreased in all other groups. Creatinine increased significantly in groups G5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12. In the kidneys of the diabetic rats, thickened capillary basement membrane, diffuse mesangial sclerosis and nodular glomerulosclerosis was observed. Rats treated with melatonin showed marked improvement in these symptoms. However, in those treated with vitamin D and E, thickened capillary basement membrane and mesangial sclerosis was still present.
Conclusions: Melatonin, administered either with or without insulin had a significant biochemical antioxidant effect and histological renoprotective effect. Conversely, vitamin D and E did not appear to have any effects on the parameters measured.