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J Pineal Res. 1999 Aug;27(1):59-64.

Physiological levels of melatonin contribute to the antioxidant capacity of human serum.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Seville School of Medicine and Virgen Macarena Hospital, Spain.


This work evaluates whether physiological concentrations of the pineal secretory product melatonin contribute to the total antioxidant status (TAS) of human serum. Day and nighttime serum samples were collected from healthy volunteers ranging from 2 to 89 years of age and used to measure melatonin and TAS. Results showed that both melatonin and TAS in human serum exhibited 24 hr variations with nocturnal peak values at 01:00 hr. Moreover, exposure of volunteers to light at night resulted in clear decreases of both TAS and melatonin. Furthermore, when melatonin was removed from sera collected at night, the TAS value of the sample was reduced to basal daytime values. In aging studies, it was found that nocturnal serum values of TAS and melatonin exhibited maximal values during the first four decades; thereafter, these values decreased as age advanced. In 60-year-old individuals, day/night differences in serum melatonin and TAS levels were clearly diminished, by more than 80%, with these differences being completely abolished in older individuals. Our results suggest that melatonin contributes to the total antioxidative capability of human serum. This antioxidant contribution of melatonin is reduced as age advances correlating with the age-related reduction of melatonin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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