Alzheimer disease (AD) is an age-related neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the presence of senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and neuronal loss. Amyloid-β protein (Aβ) deposition plays a critical role in the development of AD. It is now generally accepted that massive neuronal death due to apoptosis is a common characteristic in the brains of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, and apoptotic cell death has been found in neurons and glial cells in AD. Melatonin is a secretory product of the pineal gland; melatonin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger and may play an important role in aging and AD. Melatonin decreases during aging and patients with AD have a more profound reduction of this indoleamine. Additionally, the antioxidant properties, the anti-amyloidogenic properties and anti-apoptotic properties of melatonin in AD models have been studied. In this article, we review the antiamyloidogenic and anti-apoptotic role of melatonin in AD.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease, neurodegeneration, neuroprotection, melatonin, amyloid beta-protein, amyloid precursor protein, apoptosis, mitochondria
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