Alzheimer's disease (AD), a progressive degenerative disorder, is characterized by the presence of amyloid deposits, neurofibrillary tangles and neuron loss. Emerging evidence indicates that antioxidants could be useful either for the prevention or treatment of AD. It has been shown that melatonin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Additionally, melatonin stimulates several antioxidative enzymes and improves mitochondrial energy metabolism. These findings led us to study amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice, ovariectomized rats, and pheochromocytoma and astroglioma cell lines, to observe whether melatonin had any effect on Alzheimer's symptoms or pathological changes. We found that melatonin had many beneficial effects in experimental models of AD, including improvement of cognitive function, anti-oxidative injury, anti-apoptosis, inhibition of β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition and Aβ fiber formation. Several groups have shown that melatonin has an inhibitory effect on tau protein hyperphosphorylation. These actions may potentially slow down or stop the progression of dementia.
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Project supported by a grant from the National Basic Research Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology, China (No G199805119).
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Cheng, Y., Feng, Z., Zhang, Qz. et al. Beneficial effects of melatonin in experimental models of Alzheimer disease. Acta Pharmacol Sin 27, 129–139 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-7254.2006.00267.x
- Alzheimer disease
- beta-amyloid protein
- calcium overload
- APP transgenic mice
- ovariectomized rats
- tau protein hyperphosphorylation
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