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Effects of melatonin in experimental stroke models in acute, sub-acute, and chronic stages

Authors Lin H, Lee E

Published 10 March 2009 Volume 2009:5 Pages 157—162


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

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Hsiao-Wen Lin, E-Jian Lee

Neurophysiology Laboratory, Neurosurgical Service, Department of Surgery, National Cheng Kung University Medical Center and Medical School, Tainan, Taiwan

Abstract: Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxy-tryptamine), a naturally occurring indole produced mainly by the pineal gland, is a well known antioxidant. Stroke (cerebral ischemia) is the second leading cause of death worldwide. To date, however, effective and safe treatment for stroke remains unavailable. Melatonin is both lipid- and water-soluble and readily crosses the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Increasing evidence has shown that, in animal stroke models, administering melatonin significantly reduces infarct volume, edema, and oxidative damage and improves electrophysiological and behavioral performance. Here, we reviewed studies that assess effects of melatonin on cerebral ischemia in acute, sub-acute, and chronic stages. In addition to its potent antioxidant properties, melatonin exerts antiapoptotic, antiexcitotoxic, anti-inflammatory effects and promotes mitochondrial functions in animals with cerebral ischemia. Given that melatonin shows almost no toxicity to humans and possesses multifaceted protective capacity against cerebral ischemia, it is valuable to consider using melatonin in clinical trials on patients suffering from stroke.

Keywords: cerebral ischemia, melatonin, stroke, neuroprotection

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