Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Melatonin for Oxidative Stress

Epub: Miller et al. Melatonin reduces oxidative stress in the erythrocytes of multiple sclerosis patients with secondary progressive clinical course.J Neuroimmunol. 2013 Mar 18. doi:pii: S0165-5728(13)00050-7. 10.1016/j.jneuroim. 2013.02.012. 

Background: Oxidative stress plays a major role in multiple sclerosis (MS). Melatonin is a potent neuroprotectant. 

Objective: The aims of this study were to determine the actions of melatonin in the reduction of oxidative stress in MS. Therefore, we estimated lipid peroxidation and activities of main antioxidative enzymes in the red blood cells (RBCs) from selective group of MS patients only with secondary progressive (SPMS) clinical form and verified results with functional state. 

Methods: The sixteen (n=16) SPMS patients were supplemented with melatonin  for 30 days. Age matched healthy subjects were used as a control (n=13). We determined the level of lipid peroxidation by malondialdehyde (MDA) and activities of main antioxidative enzymes: superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxide (GPx) in RBCs of SPMS patients. 

Results: Melatonin caused statistically significant increase of SOD, GPx (p<0.0001 and p=0.004065, respectively) and decrease of MDA in erythrocytes of SPMS patients (p=0.00019). Correlation analysis of Spearman showed positive correlation between SOD and (expanded disability status scale) EDSS scale both before (r=0.64, p=0.00756) and after (r=0.634, p=0.00834) melatonin treatment.


Melatonin is molecule involved in the circadian (awake, sleep cycle) rythmn. It is a nutriceutical readily available in US, not UK where it is on prescription, and is part of my jet-lag avoidance ritual. It is also a suicidal anti-oxidant. This study is yet another nutraceutical study on oxidative stress, but in this study they found more than influence on the anti-oxidant enzymnes, but again what does it all mean? 

Could it be useful as melatonin-related gene has been linked with progression in other studies. The study is too small and short to find any meaningful clinical effect and without some meaningful outcome it is all phenomological and does not inform.

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