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A researcher at CHA Bundang Women’s Medical Center has published a paper confirming that melatonin contributes to improving the maternal and fetal damage, blood disorder while suppressing fetal heart and brain damage.

Professor Lee Ji-yeon and researchers from Johns Hopkins University confirmed such a theory after hypothesizing that the potent antioxidant effects of melatonin would have a positive impact on fetal growth and development in pregnancy with intrauterine inflammation.

To prove their hypothesis, the researchers compared a mid-pregnancy animal model with changes in uterine inflammation in pre- and melatonin-treated groups.

As a result, the melatonin pre-administered group showed improvement in pulsatility index (PI), heart function, and fetal brain inflammation. The PI, which measures blood flow to the uterus, for the melatonin pre-administered group was 0.80, 40.3 percent lower than the 1.34 for the group that did not receive melatonin.

Regarding the Tei index (myocardial performance index) measurement, which reflects the contraction and relaxation of the fetal heart, the melatonin-pretreated group was 0.43, 18.9 percent lower than the 0.53 group without the melatonin.

An abnormal increase in the Tei index (higher than 0.44) indicates that a heart of an infant has deteriorated, which, in turn, can cause fetal developmental disorder and brain damage due to hypoxia in addition to the fetal heart abnormality.

“The study showed for the first time that pre-administering melatonin could improve several indicators of premature birth and fetal damage even when intrauterine inflammation occurs,” Professor Lee said. “We expect that melatonin may be used as a useful and safe drug that can prevent maternal-fetal blood flow disorder and prevent fetal damage in pregnancy with intrauterine inflammation.”

Journal of Pineal Research published the results of the research.