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Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 27;362(3):182-4.

Pharmacological but not physiological concentrations of melatonin reduce iron-induced neuronal death in rat cerebral cortex.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.


Iron-mediated oxidative stress occurs in a wide variety of neurological disorders. The present study has investigated whether melatonin can alter the proportion of neurons that die in the 24 h period following 1.0 microl intracortical injections of 1.0 mM ferric ammonium citrate (FAC) or 0.9% saline. Rats which received systemic infusions of melatonin (5 mg/kg body weight per day) displayed a 40% reduction (P = 0.019) in the proportion of neurons killed by FAC. By contrast, reduction of endogenous melatonin by continuous light exposure did not significantly affect the extent of neuronal death. Furthermore, elevated or reduced melatonin levels did not alter the number of neurons killed by saline injections. We conclude that pharmacological concentrations of melatonin protect neurons against iron-induced injury.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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