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Melatonin administration decreases adipogenesis in the liver of ob/ob mice through autophagy modulation

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Abstract

Despite efforts to curb the incidence of obesity and its comorbidities, this condition remains the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. To identify ways to reduce this global effect, we investigated the actions of daily melatonin administration on oxidative stress parameters and autophagic processes as a possible treatment of obesity in ob/ob mice. The involvement of melatonin in many physiological functions, such as the regulation of seasonal body weight variation, glucose uptake, or adiposity, and the role of this indoleamine as an essential antioxidant, has become the focus of numerous anti-obesity studies. Here, we examined the oxidative status in the livers of obese melatonin-treated and untreated mice, observing a decrease in the oxidative stress levels through elevated catalase activity. ROS-mediated autophagy was downregulated in the liver of melatonin-treated animals and was accompanied by significant accumulation of p62. Autophagy is closely associated with adipogenesis; in this study, we report that melatonin-treated obese mice also showed reduced adiposity, as demonstrated by diminished body weight and reduced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma expression. Based on these factors, it is reasonable to assume that oxidative stress and autophagy play important roles in obesity, and therefore, melatonin could be an interesting target molecule for the development of a potential therapeutic agent to curb body weight.

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