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Neuroimmunomodulation of Aging: A Program in the Pineal Gland



    Corresponding author
    1. INTERBION Foundation for Basic Biomedical Research, Bellinzona, Switzerland and Cellena Inc., Ebmatingen (Zürich), Switzerland
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Address for correspondence: Dr. Walter Pierpaoli, M.D., INTERBION Foundation, Via Nocca 12, 6500 Bellinzona, Switzerland; Telephone: 91-8262966; Fax: 91-8263453.


Abstract: We have investigated for 35 years the relationship between the neuroendocrine and the thymo-lymphatic, immune system. In the last decade we have shown that the pineal gland is a main adapter and fine synchronizer of environmental variables and endogenous messages into physiological modifications of basic functions. In particular the pineal gland itself seems to regulate, via circadian, night secretion of melatonin, all basic hormonal functions and also immunity. We have shown with several in vivo models that this fundamental role of the pineal gland decays during aging. Aging itself seems to be a strictly pineal-programmed event similar to growth and puberty. The continuation of our interventions with melatonin against the typical degenerative diseases of aging must be based on an accurate evaluation of its mechanisms of action. Melatonin being a ubiquitous molecule in nature, we suggest that it has acquired during evolution of the species numerous levels of activities. In fact, melatonin can be found in a large variety of cells and tissues, and bindings sites and “receptors” have been identified in many tissues and cells of the neuroendocrine and immune system. Therefore, the progressive understanding of the aging-programing role of the pineal gland also depends on studies of melatonin and its basic regulatory function. Our present studies will be described.