Background: Cisplatin, one of the most effective and potent anticancer drugs, is used in the treatment of a wide variety of both pediatric and adult malignancies. However, the chemotherapeutic use of cisplatin is limited by its serious side-effects such as nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity. Cisplatin chemotherapy induces a reduction in the antioxidant status, leading to a failure of the antioxidant defense against free-radical damage generated by antitumor drugs. Cisplatin-induced oxidative stress in the kidney was partially prevented by antioxidant treatments using superoxide dismutase, glutathione, selenium and flavonoids. Melatonin and its metabolites possess free-radical scavenging activity and it has been shown that they protect against cisplatin toxicity. However, the mechanism of the protective effects of melatonin against cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity is still essentially unknown. We therefore designed this study to investigate the underlying mechanism of the protective effect of melatonin against cisplatin-induced renal damage in a rat nephrotoxicity model in vivo.