Acute and chronic effects of melatonin as an anticonvulsant in male gerbils

Thomas H. Champney, William H. Hanneman, Marie E. Legare, Kevin Appel

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40 Scopus citations


Melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland and released into the general circulation on a diurnal basis, has been implicated in many behavioral processes, where it has been shown to have anxiolytic, sedative, and anticonvulsant effects. Male gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) injected daily with melatonin (25 μg, s.c.) exhibited a reduced seizure response to pentylenetetrazol (PTZ, 60 mg/kg, s.c.). The present studies determined 1) whether melatonin's effect was related to the time of day that it was administered and 2) whether a single acute injection of melatonin at various doses could produce anticonvulsant activity. Gerbils provided with 13 weeks of daily melatonin injections (25 μg, s.c.) exhibited fewer convulsions after PTZ treatment irrespective of the time of day melatonin was injected. In addition, the melatonin-treated gerbils had lower mortality rates (1/12) than the untreated or vehicle-injected gerbils (5/12). On the other hand, single acute injections of melatonin (0.1-10 mg/kg, i.p.) produced no anticonvulsant activity. It appears that the anticonvulsant effects of melatonin occur only after the animals are chronically exposed to the indole. In addition, melatonin's anticonvulsant ability may utilize a different mechanism than those involved in its endocrine effects, since no diurnal difference in melatonin's anticonvulsant activity was observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-83
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pineal Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Epilepsy
  • Gerbil
  • Melatonin
  • Pentylenetetrazol
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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