Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 188, Issue 1, pp 60–67 | Cite as

Role of Melatonin in Aluminum-Related Neurodegenerative Disorders: a Review

  • José L. Esparza
  • Mercedes Gómez
  • José L. DomingoEmail author


Aluminum (Al), a potentially neurotoxic element, provokes various adverse effects on human health such as dialysis dementia, osteomalacia, and microcytic anemia. It has been also associated with serious neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinsonism dementia of Guam. The “aluminum hypothesis” of AD assumes that the metal complexes can potentiate the rate of aggregation of amyloid-β (Aβ), enhancing the toxicity of this peptide, and being able of contributing to the pathogenesis of AD. It has been supported by a number of analytical, epidemiological, and neurotoxicological studies. On the other hand, melatonin (Mel) is a potent direct free radical scavenger and indirect antioxidant, which acts increasing the activity of important related antioxidant enzymes, and preventing oxidative stress and cell death of neurons exposed to Aβ-induced neurotoxicity. Therefore, Mel might be useful in the treatment of AD by reducing the Aβ generation and by inhibiting mitochondrial cell death pathways. The present review on the role of Mel in Al-related neurodegenerative disorders concludes that the protective effects of this hormone, together with its low toxicity, support the administration of Mel as a potential supplement in the treatment of neurological disorders, in which oxidative stress is involved.


Aluminum Neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s disease Melatonin Oxidative stress 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine, IISPVUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliReusSpain

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