Insulin resistance (IR) is an important stress factor in the central nervous system, thereby aggravating neuropathogenesis and triggering cognitive decline. Melatonin, which is an antioxidant phytochemical and synthesized by the pineal gland, has multiple functions in cellular responses such as apoptosis and survival against stress. This study investigated whether melatonin modulates the signaling of neuronal cell death induced by endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress under IR condition using SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Apoptosis cell death signaling markers (cleaved Poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase 1 (PARP), p53, and Bax) and ER stress markers (phosphorylated eIF2α (p-eIF2α), ATF4, CHOP, p-IRE1
, and spliced XBP1 (sXBP1)) were measured using reverse transcription-PCR, quantitative PCR, and western blottings. Immunofluorescence staining was also performed for p-ASK1
. The mRNA or protein expressions of cell death signaling markers and ER stress markers were increased under IR condition, but significantly attenuated by melatonin treatment. Insulin-induced activation of ASK1
) was also dose dependently attenuated by melatonin treatment. The regulatory effect of melatonin on neuronal cells under IR condition was associated with ASK1
signaling. In conclusion, the result suggested that melatonin may alleviate ER stress under IR condition, thereby regulating neuronal cell death signaling.
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