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J Pineal Res. 2019 Jan;66(1):e12534. doi: 10.1111/jpi.12534. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Therapeutic potential of melatonin related to its role as an autophagy regulator: A review.

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Service of Microbiology, Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias (HUCA), Oviedo, Spain.
Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Principado de Asturias (ISPA), Oviedo, Spain.
Department of Morphology and Cell Biology, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.
Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, UT Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas.


There are several pathologies, syndromes, and physiological processes in which autophagy is involved. This process of self-digestion that cells trigger as a survival mechanism is complex and tightly regulated, according to the homeostatic conditions of the organ. However, in all cases, its relationship with oxidative stress alterations is evident, following a pathway that suggests endoplasmic reticulum stress and/or mitochondrial changes. There is accumulating evidence of the beneficial role that melatonin has in the regulation and restoration of damaged autophagic processes. In this review, we focus on major physiological changes such as aging and essential pathologies including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, viral infections and obesity, and document the essential role of melatonin in the regulation of autophagy in each of these different situations.


aging; autophagy; cancer; endoplasmic reticulum stress; melatonin; mitochondria; neurodegenerative diseases; obesity; virus infection

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