Dietary supplementation with melatonin reduces levels of amyloid beta-peptides in the murine cerebral cortex


Address reprint requests to Debomoy K. Lahiri PhD, Institute of Psychiatric Research, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, 791 Union Drive (PR-313), Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Abstract:  Melatonin levels decrease with aging in mice. Dietary supplementation with melatonin has recently been shown to result in a significant rise in levels of endogenous melatonin in the serum and all other tissue samples tested. Herein, the effects of dietary melatonin on brain levels of nitric oxide synthase, synaptic proteins and amyloid beta-peptides (Aβ) were determined in mice. Melatonin supplementation did not significantly change cerebral cortical levels of nitric oxide synthase or synaptic proteins such as synaptophysin and SNAP-25. Increased brain melatonin concentrations however, led to a significant reduction in levels of toxic cortical Aβ of both short and long forms which are involved in amyloid depositions and plaque formation in Alzheimer's diseases. Thus, melatonin supplementation may retard neurodegenerative changes associated with brain aging. Depletion of melatonin in the brain of aging mice may in part account for this adverse change.