Severe thermal injury may be complicated by dysfunction of organs distant from the original burn wound, including the liver, and represents a serious clinical problem. Although pathophysiology of burn-induced liver injury remains unclear, increasing evidence implicate activation of inflammatory response, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction and microcirculatory disorders as the main mechanisms of hepatic injury. Several studies suggest melatonin as a multifunctional indolamine that counteracts some of the pathophysiologic steps and displays significant beneficial effects against burn-induced cellular injury. This review summarizes the role of melatonin in restricting the burn-induced hepatic injury and focuses on its effects on oxidative stress, inflammatory response, endothelial dysfunction and microcirculatory disorders as well as on signaling pathways such as regulation of nuclear erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kB). Further studies are necessary to elucidate the modulating effect of melatonin on the transcription factor responsible for the regulation of the pro-inflammatory and antioxidant genes involved in burn injuries.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.