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Melatonin regulates several physiological processes and its powerful action as antioxidant has been widely reported. Melatonin acts modulating the immune system, showing a protective effect on the cardiovascular system and improving vaccine administration as an adjuvant-like agent. Here, we have investigated the role of melatonin as an adjuvant of the Clostridium perfringens vaccine in prepartum sheep and whether melatonin modulates platelet physiology during peripartum.
The experiments were carried out in peripartum sheep from a farm located in an area of Mediterranean-type ecosystem. Plasma melatonin levels were determined by ELISA and sheep platelet aggregation was monitored using an aggregometer. Here we demonstrated for the first time that plasma melatonin concentration were higher in pregnant (125pg/mL) than in non-pregnant sheep (15pg/mL; P<0.05). Administration of melatonin prepartum did not significantly modify platelet function but significantly improved the immune response to vaccination against C. perfringens.
Administration of melatonin as an adjuvant provides a significant improvement in the immune response to vaccine administration prepartum against C. perfringens.