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Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2006 Feb;27(2):129-39.

Beneficial effects of melatonin in experimental models of Alzheimer disease.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100050, China.

Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive degenerative disorder, is characterized by the presence of amyloid deposits, neurofibrillary tangles and neuron loss. Emerging evidence indicates that antioxidants could be useful either for the prevention or treatment of AD. It has been shown that melatonin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Additionally, melatonin stimulates several antioxidative enzymes and improves mitochondrial energy metabolism. These findings led us to study amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice, ovariectomized rats, and pheochromocytoma and astroglioma cell lines, to observe whether melatonin had any effect on Alzheimer's symptoms or pathological changes. We found that melatonin had many beneficial effects in experimental models of AD, including improvement of cognitive function, anti-oxidative injury, anti-apoptosis, inhibition of beta-amyloid (Abeta) deposition and Abeta fiber formation. Several groups have shown that melatonin has an inhibitory effect on tau protein hyperphosphorylation. These actions may potentially slow down or stop the progression of dementia.

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