OVIEDO, Spain – Melatonin may support healthy mitochondrial function in the brain, fighting oxidative stress linked to age-related neuron damage, according to a new study (J Pineal Res. ePub 9 Nov 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2010.00809.x). Researchers from Oviedo University and the University of Extremadura examined the effects of melatonin in the brains of aged mice, and found the antioxidant attenuated beta-amyloid protein expression and alpha-synuclein deposits in the brain. In addition, while old mice that did not receive melatonin showed high levels of oxidative stress and nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB, melatonin treatment suppressed both outcomes. Expression of superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) by mitochondria was increased in both treated and control animals; however, melatonin appeared to inhibit the activation of the NF-kappaB pathway, preventing increased oxidative injury. The team concluded melatonin could restore the mitochondrial health of age-damaged neurons, possibly by reducing the mitochondrial contribution to oxidative stress.