Invited Symposium: Pineal and its Hormone Melatonin


Immunomodulation By Melatonin

Circadian Immune Rhythms In Aging

Melatonin In Sleep Disorders



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Melatonin Effect in Normal and Pathological Aging

Cardinali, D.P. (Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Brusco, L.I. (Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Frances, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Márquez, M. (Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Frances, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Cutrera, R.A. (Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Esquifino, A.I. (Department of Biochemistry, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain)

Contact Person: Daniel P Cardinali (cardinal@mail.retina.ar)


Old age is associated with a decrease in amplitude of circadian rhythms, among which that of melatonin can be instrumental to affect other functions. We will discuss experimental and clinical results on the efficacy of melatonin to treat amplitude of daily rhythms at an old age. In an experimental study performed in young and old arthritic rats, 24-hour rhythms of immune parameters and neuronal activity exhibited progressively smaller amplitude as the arthritis developed. Changes in old rats were more remarkable and coincided with the lowest pineal melatonin content. Melatonin administration was effective to reverse age-related changes in arthritic rats. Two open clinical trials were conducted to assess melatonin activity in sleep-disturbed geriatric populations. In one of them we examined: (a) patients with sleep disturbances alone (n= 22); (b) patients with sleep disturbances and depression (n= 9); (c) patients with sleep disorder and dementia (n= 10). All patients received 3 mg melatonin p.o. for 21 days at bed time. Starting from the 2nd-3rd day, melatonin augmented sleep quality, sundowning decreasing in 70% of dementia patients. In a second study, 14 patients with Alzheimer disease received 9 mg/day of melatonin for 22 to 35 months. Sleep improved significantly in all patients; sundowning was not longer detectable in 12 patients and persisted attenuated in 2. Since there was no difference between pre- and post-treatment assessment of cognitive deterioration, melatonin appeared to be useful both to halt evolution of Alzheimer disease and to treat sleep disturbances in elderly patients.

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Presentation Number SAcardinali0100
Keywords: melatonin, aging, biological rhythm, Alzheimer, insomnia

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Cardinali, D.P.; Brusco, L.I.; Márquez, M.; Cutrera, R.A.; Esquifino, A.I.; (1998). Melatonin Effect in Normal and Pathological Aging. Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/brown/cardinali0100/index.html
© 1998 Author(s) Hold Copyright