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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.


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