Melatonin induces neural SOD2 expression independent of the NF-kappaB pathway and improves the mitochondrial population and function in old mice.

Journal of pineal research

PubMedID: 21062349

García-Macia M, Vega-Naredo I, de Gonzalo-Calvo D, Rodríguez-González SM, Camello PJ, Camello-Almaraz C, Martín-Cano FE, Rodríguez-Colunga MJ, Pozo MJ, Coto-Montes AM. Melatonin induces neural SOD2 expression independent of the NF-kappaB pathway and improves the mitochondrial population and function in old mice. J Pineal Res. 2011;50(1):54-63.
Aging is commonly defined as a physiological phenomenon associated with morphological and functional deleterious changes in which oxidative stress has a fundamental impact; therefore, readjusting the oxidative balance should have beneficial effects. In our study, we tested the antioxidant melatonin in old mouse brains and showed positive effects at the cellular and mitochondrial levels. Melatonin attenuated ß-amyloid protein expression and a-synuclein deposits in the brain compared to aged group. Furthermore, oxidative stress was increased by aging and induced the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-?B), which was suppressed by melatonin treatment. The antioxidant mitochondrial expression, superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), was increased in both control and melatonin-treated old mice, despite the different activation states of the NF-?B pathway. The NF-?B pathway was activated in the old mice, which may be explained by this group's response to the increased oxidative insult; this insult was inhibited in melatonin-treated animals, showing this group an increase in active mitochondria population that was not observed in old group. We also report that melatonin is capable of restoring the mitochondrial potential of age-damaged neurons. In conclusion, melatonin's beneficial effects on brain aging are linked to the increase in mitochondrial membrane potential and SOD2 expression, which probably reduces the mitochondrial contribution to the oxidative stress imbalance.