PressCNRS international magazine

Table of contents

In brief

Melatonin Slows the Effects of Aging
Melatonin, known as the "sleep hormone," slows the appearance of signs of aging in shrews,1 according to a study by researchers at the Arago laboratory in Banyuls-sur-Mer. 2 Naturally secreted at night in vertebrates, melatonin allows the organism to synchronize with the circadian rhythm (day/night alternations). With age, however, the quantity of melatonin synthesized by the organism drops until it disappears. Presenescent shrews (i.e.,14-16 months old for laboratory animals) receiving a steady delivery of melatonin showed delayed signs of aging as compared to non-treated animals. In particular, the characteristic age-related troubles in locomotor activity were delayed by three months in the treated animals, which represent a 10% lifespan increase. This study shows that melatonin, otherwise known for alleviating sleep disorders and for its antioxidant and antidepressant properties, could also play a role in the process of aging.

Notes :

1. E. Magnanou et al., PLoS One, 2009. 4: e5904.
2. CNRS / Université Paris-VI.


Back to homepageContactcredits