Dietary melatonin attenuates chromium-induced lung injury via activating the Sirt1/Pgc-1α/Nrf2 pathway
Exposure to chromium (Cr) causes a number of respiratory diseases, including lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. However, there is currently no safe treatment for Cr-induced lung damage. Here, we used in vivo and in vitro approaches to examine the protective effects of melatonin (MEL) on Cr-induced lung injury and to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms. We found that treatment of rats or a mouse lung epithelial cell MLE-12 with MEL attenuated K2Cr2O7-induced lung injury by reducing the production of oxidative stress and inflammatory mediators and inhibiting cell apoptosis. MEL treatment upregulated the expression of silent information regulator 1 (Sirt1), which deacetylated the transcriptional coactivator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (Pgc-1α). In turn, this increased the expression of the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and key anti-oxidant target genes. These results suggest that melatonin attenuates chromium-induced lung injury via activating the Sirt1/Pgc-1α/Nrf2 pathway. Dietary MEL supplement may be a potential new strategy for the treatment of Cr poisoning.