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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Melatonin and the aging brain

  • Author(s): Bondy, SC
  • Sharman, EH
  • et al.

The events associated with brain aging are enumerated with emphasis on increased oxidative and inflammatory processes and on mitochondrial dysfunction. Several of these factors are further increased in a wide range of overt age-related neurological diseases. This generality has given impetus to concepts concerning similar therapeutic approaches common to a series of neurodegenerative disorders. Animal and cell culture models of several such disorders have benefited from the application of melatonin. The mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective properties of melatonin are likely to involve activation of specific melatonin receptors. This can lead to modulation of transcription factors and consequent altered gene expression, resulting in enhancement of antioxidant enzymes and downregulation of basal levels of inflammation. Melatonin has potential utility both in slowing normal brain aging and in treatment of neurodegenerative conditions. This is reinforced by the low cost of melatonin and its very low toxic hazard. © 2007.

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