Effect of melatonin on the oxidative stress in erythrocytes of healthy young and elderly subjects*


  • *

    Preliminary results of this study were presented during the ‘15th Meeting of the European Association for Red Cell Research’, Murten, Switzerland, 2005.

Address reprint requests to Józef Kędziora, Professor of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Medical College, N. Copernicus University, 24 Karłowicza Street, PL 85-092 Bydgoszcz, Poland.
E-mail address: kasiakor@interia.pl


Abstract:  The disturbances in pro- and antioxidant balance may play an important role in the pathomechanism of aging. The pineal hormone melatonin, which exerts effective antioxidative properties, is suggested to be involved in the aging process. The aim of this study was to compare the oxidative stress in erythrocytes of healthy young adults and elderly people, and to determine the influence of melatonin supplementation on measured parameters in both examined groups. The malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione levels as well as Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD-1), catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities in erythrocytes and morning serum melatonin concentration in 14 healthy young adults and 14 healthy elderly people at baseline and after the 30th day of melatonin (5 mg daily) supplementation were determined. A significant age effect on increasing the MDA level and decreasing SOD-1, GSH-Px and GR activities as well as melatonin concentration was observed. Melatonin supplementation resulted in a significant increase in melatonin concentration, SOD-1 and GR activities and a decrease in the MDA level in both examined groups. These data indicate an age-related augmentation of oxidative stress in erythrocytes and the improvement of erythrocytic antioxidative defense by melatonin administration. These results might suggest melatonin supplementation to prevent age-related diseases and to prolong the lifespan and improve the quality of life of elderly people.