Melatonin (MLT) plays a significant role in both innate and adaptive immunity, and dysregulation of the MLT signature can modify autoimmune disease phenotypes. In this study, the influence of exogenous MLT administration on regulating autoimmune thyroiditis animal models was evaluated. An experimental autoimmune thyroiditis model was established in MLT-synthesizing (CBA) and MLT-deficient (C57BL/6) mice by immunization with human thyroidglobulin (TG), which features thyrotoxicosis, thyrocyte damage, and CD3 + T cell infiltration. In TG-immunized CBA mice, exogenous MLT administration in drinking water (6 μg/ml) enhanced thyroiditis and increased TG-specific splenocyte proliferation but not the anti-thyroglobulin antibody (ATA) titer, while MLT alone caused no significant alteration in thyroid function or histopathology. Meanwhile, MLT administration did not modify thyroid function, the ATA titer, or the thyroid histopathology, but results showed an increase in the splenocyte proliferative capacity in TG-immunized C57BL/6 mice. Collectively, our data showed that early exogenous MLT modified the progression of autoimmune thyroiditis through T cell-driven immunity, and excess MLT worsened the clinical and pathological features.
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