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Special Issue "Melatonin as an Antioxidant and a Functionally Pleiotropic Molecule: Synthesis, Metabolism and Activities in Organisms"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioorganic Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 March 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Dun-Xian Tan

Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 210-567-2550
Interests: melatonin biology; antioxidant; antioxidative stress; melatonin systhesis and metabolism; mitochondria; chloroplast; plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Melatonin is a phylogenetically ancient molecule. It is present in almost all organisms, from bacteria to humans. It is a functionally pleiotropic molecule and it is functional as an antioxidant, cancer inhibitor, inflammatory suppressor, immuno-enhancement agent, plant growth hormone and circadian rhythm regulator. It has been hypothesized that all these functions of melatonin was evolved from its antioxidant activity. Recently, the research focus was given to the synthesis and metabolism of this indolamine in different species, particulaly in plants and microorganisms and also its utilities in human health, agriculture and animal husbandry.

This Special Issue covers all aspects of pineal, melatonin and melatonin derivatives as related to their production and molecular actions in organisms from bacteria to human, including plants. Specific interests include the ability of melatonin and its metabolites to neutralize oxygen and nitrogen based toxic reactants and to protect against the associated molecular damage. This includes physical, psychological, chemical and drug-mediated injuries in animals and environmental biotic and abiotic stress in plants and microorganisms. Additionally to be included would be research articles and reviews related to novel aspects of melatonin synthesis, metabolism and applications in a variety of fields.

Dr. Dun-Xian Tan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • melatonin synthesis
  • melatonin metabolites
  • antioxidant
  • free radical
  • oxidative stress
  • animals
  • plants
  • microorganism

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Exogenous Melatonin Mitigates Acid Rain Stress to Tomato Plants through Modulation of Leaf Ultrastructure, Photosynthesis and Antioxidant Potential
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 388; doi:10.3390/molecules23020388
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 10 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
Acid rain (AR) is a serious global environmental issue causing physio-morphological changes in plants. Melatonin, as an indoleamine molecule, has been known to mediate many physiological processes in plants under different kinds of environmental stress. However, the role of melatonin in acid rain
[...] Read more.
Acid rain (AR) is a serious global environmental issue causing physio-morphological changes in plants. Melatonin, as an indoleamine molecule, has been known to mediate many physiological processes in plants under different kinds of environmental stress. However, the role of melatonin in acid rain stress tolerance remains inexpressible. This study investigated the possible role of melatonin on different physiological responses involving reactive oxygen species (ROS) metabolism in tomato plants under simulated acid rain (SAR) stress. SAR stress caused the inhibition of growth, damaged the grana lamella of the chloroplast, photosynthesis, and increased accumulation of ROS and lipid peroxidation in tomato plants. To cope the detrimental effect of SAR stress, plants under SAR condition had increased both enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant substances compared with control plants. But such an increase in the antioxidant activities were incapable of inhibiting the destructive effect of SAR stress. Meanwhile, melatonin treatment increased SAR-stress tolerance by repairing the grana lamella of the chloroplast, improving photosynthesis and antioxidant activities compared with those in SAR-stressed plants. However, these possible effects of melatonin are dependent on concentration. Moreover, our study suggests that 100-μM melatonin treatment improved the SAR-stress tolerance by increasing photosynthesis and ROS scavenging antioxidant activities in tomato plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Melatonin Alleviates High Temperature-Induced Pollen Abortion in Solanum lycopersicum
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 386; doi:10.3390/molecules23020386
Received: 4 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
Melatonin is a pleiotropic signal molecule that plays critical roles in regulating plant growth and development, as well as providing physiological protections against various environmental stresses. Nonetheless, the mechanisms for melatonin-mediated pollen thermotolerance remain largely unknown. In this study, we report that irrigation
[...] Read more.
Melatonin is a pleiotropic signal molecule that plays critical roles in regulating plant growth and development, as well as providing physiological protections against various environmental stresses. Nonetheless, the mechanisms for melatonin-mediated pollen thermotolerance remain largely unknown. In this study, we report that irrigation treatment with melatonin (20 µM) effectively ameliorated high temperature-induced inactivation of pollen and inhibition of pollen germination in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants. Melatonin alleviated reactive oxygen species production in tomato anthers under high temperature by the up-regulation of the transcription and activities of several antioxidant enzymes. Transmission electron micrograph results showed that high temperature-induced pollen abortion is associated with a premature degeneration of the tapetum cells and the formation of defective pollen grains with degenerated nuclei at the early uninuclear microspore stage, whilst melatonin protected degradation of organelles by enhancing the expression of heat shock protein genes to refold unfolded proteins and the expression of autophagy-related genes and formation of autophagosomes to degrade denatured proteins. These findings suggest a novel function of melatonin to protect pollen activity under high temperature and support the potential effects of melatonin on reproductive development of plants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Melatonin Secretion and Metabolism Exponents in Patients with Ulcerative and Lymphocytic Colitis
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 272; doi:10.3390/molecules23020272
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
Inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly ulcerative colitis (UC) and lymphocytic colitis (LC), affect many people. The role of melatonin in the pathogenesis of UC is precisely determined, whereas in LC it remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of
[...] Read more.
Inflammatory bowel diseases, particularly ulcerative colitis (UC) and lymphocytic colitis (LC), affect many people. The role of melatonin in the pathogenesis of UC is precisely determined, whereas in LC it remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the expression of the melatonin-synthesizing enzymes tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH1), arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), and N-acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT) in the colonic mucosa and urinary excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in patients with ulcerative and lymphocytic colitis. The study included 30 healthy subjects (group C), 30 patients with severe ulcerative colitis (group UC), and 30 patients with lymphocytic colitis (group LC). The diagnosis was based on endoscopic, histological, and laboratory examinations. Biopsy specimens were collected from right, transverse, and left parts of the colon. The levels of mRNA expression, TPH1, AANAT, and ASMT were estimated in the colonic mucosa with RT-PCR. The urine concentration of aMT6s was determined by the photometric method. The expression of TPH1, AANAT, and ASMT in colonic mucosa in UC and LC patients was significantly higher than in healthy subjects. Significant differences were found in the urinary aMT6s excretion: group C—13.4 ± 4.8 µg/24 h, group UC—7.8 ± 2.6 µg/24 h (p < 0.01), group LC—19.2 ± 6.1 µg/24 h (p < 0.01). Moreover, a negative correlation was found between fecal calprotectin and MT6s—in patients with UC − r = −0.888 and with LC − r = −0.658. These results indicate that patients with UC and those with LC may display high levels of melatonin-synthesizing enzymes in their colonic mucosa, which could possibly be related to increased melatonin synthesis as an adaptive antioxidant activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Melatonin on the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System in l-NAME-Induced Hypertension
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 265; doi:10.3390/molecules23020265
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is a dominant player in several cardiovascular pathologies. This study investigated whether alterations induced by l-NAME, (NLG)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, and the protective effect of melatonin are associated with changes in the
[...] Read more.
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is a dominant player in several cardiovascular pathologies. This study investigated whether alterations induced by l-NAME, (NLG)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, and the protective effect of melatonin are associated with changes in the RAAS. Four groups of 3-month-old male Wistar rats (n = 10) were treated as follows for four weeks: untreated controls, rats treated with melatonin (10 mg/kg/day), rats treated with l-NAME (40 mg/kg/day), and rats treated with l-NAME + melatonin. l-NAME administration led to hypertension and left ventricular (LV) fibrosis in terms of enhancement of soluble, insoluble and total collagen concentration and content. Melatonin reduced systolic blood pressure enhancement and lowered the concentration and content of insoluble and total collagen in the LV. The serum concentration of angiotensin (Ang) 1–8 (Ang II) and its downstream metabolites were reduced in the l-NAME group and remained unaltered by melatonin. The serum aldosterone level and its ratio to Ang II (AA2-ratio) were increased in the l-NAME group without being modified by melatonin. We conclude that l-NAME-hypertension is associated with reduced level of Ang II and its downstream metabolites and increased aldosterone concentration and AA2-ratio. Melatonin exerts its protective effect in l-NAME-induced hypertension without affecting RAAS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exogenous Melatonin Alleviates Cold Stress by Promoting Antioxidant Defense and Redox Homeostasis in Camellia sinensis L.
Molecules 2018, 23(1), 165; doi:10.3390/molecules23010165
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 8 January 2018 / Accepted: 11 January 2018 / Published: 15 January 2018
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Abstract
The unprecedented early spring frost that appears as a cold stress adversely affects growth and productivity in tea (Camellia sinensis L.); therefore, it is indispensable to develop approaches to improve the cold tolerance of tea. Here, we investigated the effect of pretreatment
[...] Read more.
The unprecedented early spring frost that appears as a cold stress adversely affects growth and productivity in tea (Camellia sinensis L.); therefore, it is indispensable to develop approaches to improve the cold tolerance of tea. Here, we investigated the effect of pretreatment with exogenous melatonin on the net photosynthetic rate, the maximum photochemical efficiency of PSII, chlorophyll content, lipid peroxidation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, antioxidant potential, and redox homeostasis in leaves of tea plants following cold stress. Our results revealed that cold treatment induced oxidative stress by increasing ROS accumulation, which in turn affected the photosynthetic process in tea leaves. However, treatment with melatonin mitigated cold-induced reductions in photosynthetic capacity by reducing oxidative stress through enhanced antioxidant potential and redox homeostasis. This study provides strong evidence that melatonin could alleviate cold-induced adverse effects in tea plants. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Melatonin Pharmacokinetics Following Oral Administration in Preterm Neonates
Molecules 2017, 22(12), 2115; doi:10.3390/molecules22122115
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 1 December 2017
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Abstract
Melatonin possesses potential efficacy in perinatal brain injuries, and has been proposed as adjunctive pharmacological therapy in combination with hypothermia in the clinical setting. However, the pharmacokinetics of melatonin in preterm and term newborns is still unknown. The aim of this study was
[...] Read more.
Melatonin possesses potential efficacy in perinatal brain injuries, and has been proposed as adjunctive pharmacological therapy in combination with hypothermia in the clinical setting. However, the pharmacokinetics of melatonin in preterm and term newborns is still unknown. The aim of this study was to analyze the pharmacokinetics of melatonin after intragastric administration in preterm infants. Preterm newborns were enrolled 24–72 h after birth, and randomly assigned to three groups receiving a single bolus of 0.5 mg·kg−1 melatonin, or 3 boluses of 1 or 5 mg·kg−1 of melatonin at 24-h intervals. Blood samples were collected before and at selective times after melatonin administration. The half-life of melatonin in plasma ranged from 7.98 to 10.94 h, and the area under the curve (AUC) from 10.48 to 118.17 µg·mL−1·h−1. Our results indicate a different pharmacokinetic profile in premature newborns, compared to adults and experimental animals. The high peak plasma concentrations and the long half-life indicate that in the neonatal clinical setting, it is possible to obtain and maintain high serum concentrations using a single administration of melatonin repeated every 12/24 h. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Melatonin Improves the Quality of Inferior Bovine Oocytes and Promoted Their Subsequent IVF Embryo Development: Mechanisms and Results
Molecules 2017, 22(12), 2059; doi:10.3390/molecules22122059
Received: 19 October 2017 / Revised: 17 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 27 November 2017
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Abstract
The inferior oocytes (IOs), which are not suitable for embryo development, occupy roughly one-third or more of the collected immature bovine oocytes. The IOs are usually discarded from the in vitro bovine embryo production process. Improving the quality of the inferior oocytes (IOs)
[...] Read more.
The inferior oocytes (IOs), which are not suitable for embryo development, occupy roughly one-third or more of the collected immature bovine oocytes. The IOs are usually discarded from the in vitro bovine embryo production process. Improving the quality of the inferior oocytes (IOs) and make them available in in vitro embryo production would have important biological, as well as commercial, value. This study was designed to investigate whether melatonin could improve the quality of IOs and make them usable in the in vitro maturation (IVM) and subsequent (in vitro fertilization) IVF embryo development. The results indicated that: the maturation rate of IOs and their subsequent IVF embryo developments were impaired compared to cumulus-oocyte complexes and melatonin treatment significantly improved the quality of IOs, as well as their IVF and embryo developments. The potential mechanisms are that: (1) melatonin reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and enhanced glutathione (GSH) levels in the IOs, thereby protecting them from oxidative stress; (2) melatonin improved mitochondrial normal distribution and function to increase ATP level in IOs; and (3) melatonin upregulated the expression of ATPase 6, BMP-15, GDF-9, SOD-1, Gpx-4, and Bcl-2, which are critical genes for oocyte maturation and embryo development and downregulated apoptotic gene expression of caspase-3. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Genomic Analysis of the ASMT Gene Family in Solanum lycopersicum
Molecules 2017, 22(11), 1984; doi:10.3390/molecules22111984
Received: 30 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
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Abstract
Acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT) is the last enzyme of melatonin biosynthesis and may play a rate-limiting role in the melatonin production of plants. In this study, systematic analysis of the ASMT gene family in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum Mill) has been presented by the
[...] Read more.
Acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT) is the last enzyme of melatonin biosynthesis and may play a rate-limiting role in the melatonin production of plants. In this study, systematic analysis of the ASMT gene family in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum Mill) has been presented by the integration of the structural features, phylogenetic relationships, exon/intron configuration, and expression profile during growth and development, as well as biotic stresses. The results revealed that the tomato genome encoded a minimum of 14 members, containing three probable encoded pseudogenes. Chromosome mapping indicated that the family had probably expanded via tandem duplication events. Genome-wide RNA-seq and qRT-PCR based gene expression analysis revealed that almost half of the SlASMT genes were expressed in at least one of the experimental stages studied and also showed differential accumulation. Furthermore, the tandem duplicated SlASMT genes showed differential expression levels, which indicated probable functional divergence during the course of the evolution. Finally, this study also determined that some SlASMT genes were induced by multiple pathogens. The results suggested that these genes could be involved in tomato plant response to biotic stresses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Endotoxin-Induced Inflammation Suppresses the Effect of Melatonin on the Release of LH from the Ovine Pars Tuberalis Explants—Ex Vivo Study
Molecules 2017, 22(11), 1933; doi:10.3390/molecules22111933
Received: 18 September 2017 / Revised: 3 November 2017 / Accepted: 7 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
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Abstract
The secretion of the hormone melatonin reliably reflects environmental light conditions. Among numerous actions, in seasonal breeders, melatonin may regulate the secretion of the gonadotropins acting via its corresponding receptors occurring in the Pars Tuberalis (PT). However, it was previously found
[...] Read more.
The secretion of the hormone melatonin reliably reflects environmental light conditions. Among numerous actions, in seasonal breeders, melatonin may regulate the secretion of the gonadotropins acting via its corresponding receptors occurring in the Pars Tuberalis (PT). However, it was previously found that the secretory activity of the pituitary may be dependent on the immune status of the animal. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the role of melatonin in the modulation of luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion from the PT explants collected from saline- and endotoxin-treated ewes in the follicular phase of the oestrous cycle. Twelve Blackhead ewes were sacrificed 3 h after injection with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 400 ng/kg) or saline, and the PTs were collected. Each PT was cut into 4 explants, which were then divided into 4 groups: I, incubated with ‘pure’ medium 199; II, treated with gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) (100 pg/mL); III, treated with melatonin (10 nmol/mL); and IV, incubated with GnRH and melatonin. Melatonin reduced (p < 0.05) GnRH-induced secretion of LH only in the PT from saline-treated ewes. Explants collected from LPS-treated ewes were characterized by lower (p < 0.05) GnRH-dependent response in LH release. It was also found that inflammation reduced the gene expression of the GnRH receptor and the MT1 melatonin receptors in the PT. Therefore, it was shown that inflammation affects the melatonin action on LH secretion from the PT, which may be one of the mechanisms via which immune/inflammatory challenges disturb reproduction processes in animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Regulatory Mechanism of MLT/MT1 Signaling on the Growth of Antler Mesenchymal Cells
Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1793; doi:10.3390/molecules22101793
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
Melatonin (MLT) plays an important role in regulating the physiological cycle of seasonal breeding animals. Melatonin receptor I (MT1) is effectively expressed in the cambium layer of deer antler. However, the function and metabolic mechanism of MLT/MT1 signaling in the mesenchymal cells of
[...] Read more.
Melatonin (MLT) plays an important role in regulating the physiological cycle of seasonal breeding animals. Melatonin receptor I (MT1) is effectively expressed in the cambium layer of deer antler. However, the function and metabolic mechanism of MLT/MT1 signaling in the mesenchymal cells of sika deer remain to be further elucidated. In this work, we detected the effects of MLT/MT1 signaling on mesenchymal cells proliferation and the interaction between MLT/MT1 and IGF1/IGF1-R signaling. The results show that (1) deer antler mesenchymal cells actually express MT1; (2) exogenous melatonin significantly promotes mesenchymal cells proliferation, while MT1 knock-down significantly impairs the positive effects of melatonin; and (3) melatonin significantly enhanced IGF1/IGF1-R signaling, as both the expression of IGF1 and IGF-1R increased, while MT1 knock-down significantly decreased IGF1-R expression and IGF1 synthesis. In summary, these data verified that MLT/MT1 signaling plays a crucial role in antler mesenchymal proliferation, which may be mediated by IGF1/IGF1-R. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Cadmium Disrupts Subcellular Organelles, Including Chloroplasts, Resulting in Melatonin Induction in Plants
Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1791; doi:10.3390/molecules22101791
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
Cadmium is a well-known elicitor of melatonin synthesis in plants, including rice. However, the mechanisms by which cadmium induces melatonin induction remain elusive. To investigate whether cadmium influences physical integrities in subcellular organelles, we treated tobacco leaves with either CdCl2 or AlCl
[...] Read more.
Cadmium is a well-known elicitor of melatonin synthesis in plants, including rice. However, the mechanisms by which cadmium induces melatonin induction remain elusive. To investigate whether cadmium influences physical integrities in subcellular organelles, we treated tobacco leaves with either CdCl2 or AlCl3 and monitored the structures of subcellular organelles—such as chloroplasts, mitochondria, and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)—using confocal microscopic analysis. Unlike AlCl3 treatment, CdCl2 (0.5 mM) treatment significantly disrupted chloroplasts, mitochondria, and ER. In theory, the disruption of chloroplasts enabled chloroplast-expressed serotonin N-acetyltransferase (SNAT) to encounter serotonin in the cytoplasm, leading to the synthesis of N-acetylserotonin followed by melatonin synthesis. In fact, the disruption of chloroplasts by cadmium, not by aluminum, gave rise to a huge induction of melatonin in rice leaves, which suggests that cadmium-treated chloroplast disruption plays an important role in inducing melatonin in plants by removing physical barriers, such as chloroplast double membranes, allowing SNAT to gain access to the serotonin substrate enriched in the cytoplasm. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Melatonin Improves the Photosynthetic Carbon Assimilation and Antioxidant Capacity in Wheat Exposed to Nano-ZnO Stress
Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1727; doi:10.3390/molecules22101727
Received: 23 September 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
The release of nanoparticles into the environment is inevitable, which has raised global environmental concern. Melatonin is involved in various stress responses in plants. The present study investigated the effects of melatonin on photosynthetic carbon (C) assimilation and plant growth in nano-ZnO stressed
[...] Read more.
The release of nanoparticles into the environment is inevitable, which has raised global environmental concern. Melatonin is involved in various stress responses in plants. The present study investigated the effects of melatonin on photosynthetic carbon (C) assimilation and plant growth in nano-ZnO stressed plants. It was found that melatonin improved the photosynthetic C assimilation in nano-ZnO stressed wheat plants, mainly due to the enhanced photosynthetic energy transport efficiency, higher chlorophyll concentration and higher activities of Rubisco and ATPases. In addition, melatonin enhanced the activities of antioxidant enzymes to protect the photosynthetic electron transport system in wheat leaves against the oxidative burst caused by nano-ZnO stress. These results suggest that melatonin could improve the tolerance of wheat plants to nano-ZnO stress. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Melatonin Treatment Reduces Oxidative Damage and Normalizes Plasma Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines in Patients Suffering from Charcot-Marie-Tooth Neuropathy: A Pilot Study in Three Children
Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1728; doi:10.3390/molecules22101728
Received: 26 September 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 14 October 2017
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Abstract
Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy (CMT) is a motor and sensory neuropathy comprising a heterogeneous group of inherited diseases. The CMT1A phenotype is predominant in the 70% of CMT patients, with nerve conduction velocity reduction and hypertrophic demyelination. These patients have elevated oxidative stress and chronic
[...] Read more.
Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy (CMT) is a motor and sensory neuropathy comprising a heterogeneous group of inherited diseases. The CMT1A phenotype is predominant in the 70% of CMT patients, with nerve conduction velocity reduction and hypertrophic demyelination. These patients have elevated oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Currently, there is no effective cure for CMT; herein, we investigated whether melatonin treatment may reduce the inflammatory and oxidative damage in CMT1A patients. Three patients, aged 8–10 years, were treated with melatonin (60 mg at 21:00 h plus 10 mg at 09:00 h), and plasma levels of lipid peroxidation (LPO), nitrites (NOx), IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-α, INF-γ, oxidized to reduced glutathione (GSSG/GSH) ratio, and the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione-S transferase (GST), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and reductase (GRd), were determined in erythrocytes at 3 and 6 months of treatment. Healthy age- and sex-matched subjects were used as controls. The results showed increased activities of SOD, GST, GPx, and GRd in CMT1A patients, which were reduced at 3 and 6 months of treatment. The GSSG/GSH ratio significantly increased in the patients, returning to control values after melatonin treatment. The inflammatory process was confirmed by the elevation of all proinflammatory cytokines measured, which were also normalized by melatonin. LPO and NOx, which also were elevated in the patients, were normalized by melatonin. The results document beneficial effects of the use of melatonin in CMT1A patients to reduce the hyperoxidative and inflammatory condition, which may correlate with a reduction of the degenerative process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Comparative Genomic and Transcriptomic Survey Provides Novel Insights into N-Acetylserotonin Methyltransferase (ASMT) in Fish
Molecules 2017, 22(10), 1653; doi:10.3390/molecules22101653
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 2 October 2017
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Abstract
Melatonin is a multifunctional bioactive molecule that plays comprehensive physiological roles in all living organisms. N-acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT, also known as hydroxyindole O-methyltransferase or HIOMT) is the final enzyme for biosynthesis of melatonin. Here, we performed a comparative genomic and transcriptomic
[...] Read more.
Melatonin is a multifunctional bioactive molecule that plays comprehensive physiological roles in all living organisms. N-acetylserotonin methyltransferase (ASMT, also known as hydroxyindole O-methyltransferase or HIOMT) is the final enzyme for biosynthesis of melatonin. Here, we performed a comparative genomic and transcriptomic survey to explore the ASMT family in fish. Two ASMT isotypes (ASMT1 and ASMT2) and a new ASMT-like (ASMTL) are all extracted from teleost genomes on the basis of phylogenetic and synteny analyses. We confirmed that C-terminal of the ASMTL proteins (ASMTL-ASMT) is homology to the full length of ASMT1 and ASMT2. Our results also demonstrate that the two ASMT isotypes and their distribution in teleosts seem to be the result of combinations of whole-genome duplication (WGD) and gene loss. Differences were also observed in tissue distribution and relative transcript abundances of ASMT1, ASMT2 and ASMTL through transcriptomic analysis. Protein sequence alignment and 3D structure prediction of ASMTs and ASMTL suggest differential roles for these ASMT genes. In summary, our current work provides novel insights into the ASMT genes in fish by combination of genomic and transcriptomic data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exogenous Melatonin Alleviates Alkaline Stress in Malus hupehensis Rehd. by Regulating the Biosynthesis of Polyamines
Molecules 2017, 22(9), 1542; doi:10.3390/molecules22091542
Received: 27 August 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6449 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Since melatonin was identified in plants decades ago, much attention has been devoted to discovering its role in plant science. There is still a great deal to learn about the functional importance of melatonin, as well as its functional mode. In this paper,
[...] Read more.
Since melatonin was identified in plants decades ago, much attention has been devoted to discovering its role in plant science. There is still a great deal to learn about the functional importance of melatonin, as well as its functional mode. In this paper, we examine the role of melatonin treatment in the response of Malus hupehensis Rehd. to alkaline conditions. Stressed seedlings showed chlorosis and suppressed growth. However, this phenotype was ameliorated when 5 µM melatonin was added to the irrigation solution. This supplementation was also associated with a reduction in cell membrane damage and maintenance of a normal root system architecture. Fewer reactive oxygen species (ROS) were accumulated due to the enhanced scavenging activity of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, and catalase. In addition, alkaline-stressed seedlings that received the melatonin supplement accumulated more polyamines compared with untreated seedlings. Transcript levels of six genes involved in polyamine synthesis, including SAMDC1, -3, and -4, and SPDS1, -3, and -5, -6, were upregulated in response to melatonin application. All of these results demonstrate that melatonin has a positive function in plant tolerance to alkaline stress because it regulates enzyme activity and the biosynthesis of polyamines. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Sleep Quality on Melatonin Levels and Inflammatory Response after Major Abdominal Surgery in an Intensive Care Unit
Molecules 2017, 22(9), 1537; doi:10.3390/molecules22091537
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 10 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
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Abstract
Disruption of nocturnal sleep in an intensive care unit may remarkably affect production of melatonin, which is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect of sleep quality on melatonin levels and inflammation after surgery.
[...] Read more.
Disruption of nocturnal sleep in an intensive care unit may remarkably affect production of melatonin, which is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effect of sleep quality on melatonin levels and inflammation after surgery. Thus, we compared the patients, who were screened in the side-rooms where the lights were dimmed and noise levels were reduced, with the patients who received usual care. Preoperative and postoperative urine 6-sulphatoxymelatonin, serum interleukin-1 (IL-1), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and c-reactive protein (CRP) levels were measured and data on sleep quality was collected using the Richards–Campbell Sleep Questionnaire. Postoperative CRP and IL-6 levels were greater in the control group than in the experimental group, whereas postoperative 24 h melatonin levels were greater than preoperative levels and the difference was steeper in the experimental group in concordance with sleep quality scores. Thus, the regulation of light and noise in ICUs may help the recovery after major surgeries in patients, potentially by increasing melatonin production, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview Melatonin Regulates the Synthesis of Steroid Hormones on Male Reproduction: A Review
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 447; doi:10.3390/molecules23020447
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 10 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 17 February 2018
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Abstract
Melatonin is a ubiquitous molecule and exhibits different effects in long-day and short-day breeding animals. Testosterone, the main resource of androgens in the testis, is produced by Leydig cells but regulated mainly by cytokine secreted by Sertoli cells. Melatonin acts as a local
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Melatonin is a ubiquitous molecule and exhibits different effects in long-day and short-day breeding animals. Testosterone, the main resource of androgens in the testis, is produced by Leydig cells but regulated mainly by cytokine secreted by Sertoli cells. Melatonin acts as a local modulator of the endocrine activity in Leydig cells. In Sertoli cells, melatonin influences cellular proliferation and energy metabolism and, consequently, can regulate steroidogenesis. These suggest melatonin as a key player in the regulation of steroidogenesis. However, the melatonin-induced regulation of steroid hormones may differ among species, and the literature data indicate that melatonin has important effects on steroidogenesis and male reproduction. Full article
Open AccessReview Melatonin: A Molecule for Reducing Breast Cancer Risk
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 336; doi:10.3390/molecules23020336
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this article is to review the basis supporting the usefulness of melatonin as an adjuvant therapy for breast cancer (BC) prevention in several groups of individuals at high risk for this disease. Melatonin, as a result of its antiestrogenic and
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The objective of this article is to review the basis supporting the usefulness of melatonin as an adjuvant therapy for breast cancer (BC) prevention in several groups of individuals at high risk for this disease. Melatonin, as a result of its antiestrogenic and antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to improve the efficacy and reduce the side effects of conventional antiestrogens, could safely be associated with the antiestrogenic drugs presently in use. In individuals at risk of BC due to night shift work, the light-induced inhibition of melatonin secretion, with the consequent loss of its antiestrogenic effects, would be countered by administering this neurohormone. BC risk from exposure to metalloestrogens, such as cadmium, could be treated with melatonin supplements to individuals at risk of BC due to exposure to this xenoestrogen. The BC risk related to obesity may be reduced by melatonin which decrease body fat mass, inhibits the enhanced aromatase expression in obese women, increases adiponectin secretion, counteracts the oncogenic effects of elevated concentrations of leptin; and decreases blood glucose levels and insulin resistance. Despite compelling experimental evidence of melatonin’s oncostatic actions being susceptible to lowering BC risk, there is still a paucity of clinical trials focused on this subject. Full article
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Open AccessReview Pineal Calcification, Melatonin Production, Aging, Associated Health Consequences and Rejuvenation of the Pineal Gland
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 301; doi:10.3390/molecules23020301
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
The pineal gland is a unique organ that synthesizes melatonin as the signaling molecule of natural photoperiodic environment and as a potent neuronal protective antioxidant. An intact and functional pineal gland is necessary for preserving optimal human health. Unfortunately, this gland has the
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The pineal gland is a unique organ that synthesizes melatonin as the signaling molecule of natural photoperiodic environment and as a potent neuronal protective antioxidant. An intact and functional pineal gland is necessary for preserving optimal human health. Unfortunately, this gland has the highest calcification rate among all organs and tissues of the human body. Pineal calcification jeopardizes melatonin’s synthetic capacity and is associated with a variety of neuronal diseases. In the current review, we summarized the potential mechanisms of how this process may occur under pathological conditions or during aging. We hypothesized that pineal calcification is an active process and resembles in some respects of bone formation. The mesenchymal stem cells and melatonin participate in this process. Finally, we suggest that preservation of pineal health can be achieved by retarding its premature calcification or even rejuvenating the calcified gland. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview The Potential of Phytomelatonin as a Nutraceutical
Molecules 2018, 23(1), 238; doi:10.3390/molecules23010238
Received: 10 January 2018 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 22 January 2018
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Abstract
Phytomelatonin (plant melatonin) is chemically related to the amino acid tryptophan and has many diverse properties. Phytomelatonin is an interesting compound due to its outstanding actions at the cellular and physiological level, especially its protective effect in plants exposed to diverse stress situations,
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Phytomelatonin (plant melatonin) is chemically related to the amino acid tryptophan and has many diverse properties. Phytomelatonin is an interesting compound due to its outstanding actions at the cellular and physiological level, especially its protective effect in plants exposed to diverse stress situations, while its vegetable origin offers many opportunities because it is a natural compound. We present an overview of its origin, its action in plants in general (particularly in plant species with high levels of phytomelatonin), and its possibilities for use as a nutraceutical with particular attention paid to the beneficial effects that it may have in human health. The differences between synthetic melatonin and phytomelatonin, according to its origin and purity, are presented. Finally, the current market for phytomelatonin and its limits and potentials are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Melatonin during Fetal Development
Molecules 2018, 23(1), 198; doi:10.3390/molecules23010198
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this review is to clarify the interrelationship between melatonin and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during fetal development. ASD refers to a diverse range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social deficits, impaired communication, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviors. Melatonin, which is
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The aim of this review is to clarify the interrelationship between melatonin and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during fetal development. ASD refers to a diverse range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social deficits, impaired communication, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviors. Melatonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland, has well-established neuroprotective and circadian entraining effects. During pregnancy, the hormone crosses the placenta into the fetal circulation and transmits photoperiodic information to the fetus allowing the establishment of normal sleep patterns and circadian rhythms that are essential for normal neurodevelopment. Melatonin synthesis is frequently impaired in patients with ASD. The hormone reduces oxidative stress, which is harmful to the central nervous system. Therefore, the neuroprotective and circadian entraining roles of melatonin may reduce the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Taxon- and Site-Specific Melatonin Catabolism
Molecules 2017, 22(11), 2015; doi:10.3390/molecules22112015
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 20 November 2017 / Accepted: 20 November 2017 / Published: 21 November 2017
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Abstract
Melatonin is catabolized both enzymatically and nonenzymatically. Nonenzymatic processes mediated by free radicals, singlet oxygen, other reactive intermediates such as HOCl and peroxynitrite, or pseudoenzymatic mechanisms are not species- or tissue-specific, but vary considerably in their extent. Higher rates of nonenzymatic melatonin metabolism
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Melatonin is catabolized both enzymatically and nonenzymatically. Nonenzymatic processes mediated by free radicals, singlet oxygen, other reactive intermediates such as HOCl and peroxynitrite, or pseudoenzymatic mechanisms are not species- or tissue-specific, but vary considerably in their extent. Higher rates of nonenzymatic melatonin metabolism can be expected upon UV exposure, e.g., in plants and in the human skin. Additionally, melatonin is more strongly nonenzymatically degraded at sites of inflammation. Typical products are several hydroxylated derivatives of melatonin and N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AFMK). Most of these products are also formed by enzymatic catalysis. Considerable taxon- and site-specific differences are observed in the main enzymatic routes of catabolism. Formation of 6-hydroxymelatonin by cytochrome P450 subforms are prevailing in vertebrates, predominantly in the liver, but also in the brain. In pineal gland and non-mammalian retina, deacetylation to 5-methoxytryptamine (5-MT) plays a certain role. This pathway is quantitatively prevalent in dinoflagellates, in which 5-MT induces cyst formation and is further converted to 5-methoxyindole-3-acetic acid, an end product released to the water. In plants, the major route is catalyzed by melatonin 2-hydroxylase, whose product is tautomerized to 3-acetamidoethyl-3-hydroxy-5-methoxyindolin-2-one (AMIO), which exceeds the levels of melatonin. Formation and properties of various secondary products are discussed. Full article
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