Melatonin oxidative stress and neurodegenerative diseases.Indian J Exp Biol. 2002 Jun; 40(6):668-79.IJ
Oxidative Stress is implicated as one of the primary factors that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinsonism and neurological conditions like epileptic seizures, stroke, brain damage, neurotrauma etc. The increased formation and release of oxygen free radicals coupled with the rather low antioxidative potential of the central nervous system are the major reasons that account for the enhanced oxidative stress seen in neuronal cells. In addition to this, brain is also enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids that render neuronal cells easily vulnerable to oxidative attack. The fact that there is increased incidence of neurodegenerative disorders in aged individuals, has prompted many investigators to search for a common factor whose progressive decline with increase in age could account for increased oxidative stress resulting in senescence and age associated degenerative diseases. Since melatonin, the hormone secreted from the pineal gland has a remarkable anti-oxidant property and whose rate of production declines with increase in age, has prompted many to suggest that this hormone plays a crucial role in the genesis of neurodegenerative diseases. Melatonin cannot only scavenges oxygen free radicals like super oxide radical (O2-), hydroxyl radical (*OH), peroxyl radical (LOO*) and peroxynitrite anion (ONOO-), but can also enhance the antioxidative potential of the cell by stimulating the synthesis of antioxidative enzymes like super oxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), and also the enzymes that are involved in the synthesis of glutathione. In many instances, melatonin increases the expression of m RNA's of the antioxidative enzymes. Melatonin administration has been shown to be effective in counteracting the neurodegenerative conditions both in experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases and in patients suffering from such diseases. A disturbance of melatonin rhythm and secretion also has been noted in patients suffering from certain neurodegenerative diseases. From all these, it is evident that melatonin has a neuroprotective role.