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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Aug;1053:334-47.

Antioxidant effects of N-acetylserotonin: possible mechanisms and clinical implications.

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Melatonin Clinic and Pineal Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02135, USA.


This paper will review our recent data relevant to the antioxidant effects of N-acetylserotonin (NAS), the immediate precursor of melatonin, the pineal gland indole. Mechanisms of the antioxidant effects of NAS might involve interaction with melatonin type 3 receptors and nonreceptor mechanisms such as stimulation of glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme; inhibition of lipid peroxidation; suppression of phospholipase A2 activation; attenuation of tumor necrosis factor-alpha production; prevention of pathological opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pores; and inhibition of sepiapterin reductase, the key enzyme of biosynthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin, the essential cofactor of nitric oxide synthase. NAS actions on some of these enzymes might be receptor-mediated. Protective effects of NAS against oxidative damage are independent from the effect of melatonin and, depending on the model, are 5 to 20 times stronger than that of melatonin. Antioxidant effect of NAS might underpin its cognition-enhancing, antiaging, antidepressant, antihypertensive, and antitumor effects. NAS and its derivatives might be useful in protection against oxidative stress-related disorders (cell death, mutagenesis, aging) and diseases (sepsis, cancer, postischemic trauma, Alzheimer's disease, parkinsonism).

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