Melatonin increases intracellular calcium in the liver, muscle, white adipose tissues and pancreas of diabetic obese rats
Melatonin, a widespread substance with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, has been found to act as an antidiabetic agent in animal models, regulating the release and action of insulin. However, the molecular bases of this antidiabetic action are unknown, limiting its application in humans. Several studies have recently shown that melatonin can modify calcium (Ca2+) in diabetic animals, and Ca2+ has been reported to be involved in glucose homeostasis. The objective of the present study was to assess whether the antidiabetic effect of chronic melatonin at pharmacological doses is established via Ca2+ regulation in different tissues in an animal model of obesity-related type 2 diabetes, using Zücker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats and their lean littermates, Zücker lean (ZL) rats. After the treatments, flame atomic absorption spectrometry was used to determine Ca2+ levels in the liver, muscle, main types of internal white adipose tissue, subcutaneous lumbar fat, pancreas, brain, and plasma. This study reports for the first time that chronic melatonin administration (10 mg per kg body weight per day for 6 weeks) increases Ca2+ levels in muscle, liver, different adipose tissues, and pancreas in ZDF rats, although there were no significant changes in their brain or plasma Ca2+ levels. We propose that this additional peripheral dual action mechanism underlies the improvement in insulin sensitivity and secretion previously documented in samples from the same animals. According to these results, indoleamine may be a potential candidate for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus associated with obesity.