Abstract Title:

Melatonin alters cell death processes in response to age-related oxidative stress in the brain of senescence-accelerated mice.

Abstract Source:

J Pineal Res. 2009 Jan;46(1):106-14. PMID: 19090913

Abstract Author(s):

Beatriz Caballero, Ignacio Vega-Naredo, Verónica Sierra, Covadonga Huidobro-Fernández, Clara Soria-Valles, David De Gonzalo-Calvo, Delio Tolivia, Mercé Pallás, Antonio Camins, María Josefa Rodríguez-Colunga, Ana Coto-Montes

Article Affiliation:

Departamento de Morfología y Biología Celular, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain.


We studied the effect of age and melatonin on cell death processes in brain aging. Senescence-accelerated prone mice 8 (SAMP8) and senescence-accelerated resistant mice (SAMR1) at 5 and 10 months of age were used as models of the study. Melatonin (10 mg/kg) or its vehicle (ethanol at 0.066%) was administered in the drinking water from 1 to 9 months of age. Neurodegeneration, previously shown in the aged brain of SAMP8 and SAMR1 at 10 months of age, may be due to a drop in age-related proteolytic activities (cathepsin D, calpains, and caspase-3). Likewise, lack of apoptotic and macroautophagic processes were found, without apparent modification by melatonin. However, the caspase-independent cell death, owing to high p53 and apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) levels, might be an alternative pathway of cell death in the aged brain. The main effects of melatonin treatment were observed in the aged SAMR1 mice; in this strain we observed a marked increase in antioxidant activity (catalase and superoxide dismutase). Likewise, a key antioxidant role of apoptosis-related proteins, Bcl-2 and AIF, was suggested in the aged brain of SAM mice, which was clearly influenced by melatonin. Moreover, the age-related increase of lysosomal activity of cathepsin B and a lysosomal membrane-associated protein 2 supports the possibility of the maintenance of lysosomal viability in addition to age-related impairments of the proteolytic or macroautophagic activities. The effectiveness of melatonin against the oxidative stress-related impairments and apoptosis during the aging process is, once more, corroborated in this article.

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