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Escribano B.M.,University of Cordoba, Spain | Colin-Gonzalez A.L.,The National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery Manuel Velasco Suarez | Santamaria A.,The National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery Manuel Velasco Suarez | Tunez I.,University of Cordoba, Spain
CNS and Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets | Year: 2014

Melatonin is produced and released by the pineal gland in a circadian rhythm. This neurohormone has proven to be an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule able to reduce or mitigate cell damage associated with oxidative stress and inflammation, and this phenomenon underlies neurodegenerative disorders. These facts have drawn attention to this indole, triggering interest in evaluating its changes and in its relationship to the processes indicated, and analyzing its role in the mechanisms involved at the onset and development of neurodegenerative diseases, as well as its therapeutic potential. Multiple sclerosis, the most common cause of non-traumatic disability in young adults, is a chronic neuroinflammatory disease, characterized by demyelination, inflammation, and neuronal and oxidative damage. In its early diagnosis, it often requires a differential screening with other neurodegenerative diseases with similar symptoms, such as Huntington’s disease, an autosomal dominant disorder. The onset of both diseases occurs in the second or third decade of life. On the other hand, cerebral ischemia is a major cause of human disability all over the world. Although a cerebral stroke can occur as the result of different damaging insults, severe ischemia produces the death of neuronal cells within minutes. Changes in melatonin levels have been observed in these processes (Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral ischemia) as part of their pathogenic features. This review aims to update and discuss the role played by melatonin during neurodegenerative processes, specifically in multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, and cerebral ischemia, and its possible therapeutic use. We also provide readers with an update on the many neuroprotective mechanisms exerted by this neurohormone in the Central Nervous System. © 2014 Bentham Science Publishers.

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