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Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1995 Dec;37(6):1063-70.

The neurohormone melatonin inhibits cytokine, mitogen and ionizing radiation induced NF-kappa B.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284-7800, USA.


Recently, the neurohormone melatonin was found to be a potent endogenous hydroxyl radical scavenger. Since the activation of an important transcriptional regulator, nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) involves free radicals as second messengers, we investigated whether melatonin alters NF-kappa B expression if present during treatment of HeLa S3 cells with known activators. The results show that upon treatment of HeLa S3 cells with tumor necrosis factor-alpha or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, or with ionizing radiation, there is a profound induction of NF-kappa B binding activity. If present at the time of treatment, exogenously added melatonin, at a concentration as low as 10 microM, was found to inhibit the activation of NF-kappa B by these agents. This results leads to the hypothesis that melatonin can play a role in many physiological functions through its modulation of NF-kappa B (and possibly other) transcriptional regulators.

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