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Melatonin as a mitochondrial protector in neurodegenerative diseases

Wongprayoon, Pawaris, Govitrapong, Piyarat
Cellular and molecular life sciences 2017 v.74 no.21 pp. 3999-4014
Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, antioxidant activity, brain, eukaryotic cells, melatonin, mitochondria, neuroprotective effect, physiology
Mitochondria are crucial organelles as their role in cellular energy production of eukaryotes. Because the brain cells demand high energy for maintaining their normal activities, disturbances in mitochondrial physiology may lead to neuropathological events underlying neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Melatonin is an endogenous compound with a variety of physiological roles. In addition, it possesses potent antioxidant properties which effectively play protective roles in several pathological conditions. Several lines of evidence also reveal roles of melatonin in mitochondrial protection, which could prevent development and progression of neurodegeneration. Since the mitochondrial dysfunction is a primary event in neurodegeneration, the neuroprotection afforded by melatonin is thereby more effective in early stages of the diseases. This article reviews mechanisms which melatonin exerts its protective roles on mitochondria as a potential therapeutic strategy against neurodegenerative disorders.