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Salud mental

versão impressa ISSN 0185-3325


BENITEZ-KING, Gloria et al. Melatonin as a neuronal differentiation factor: therapeutic implications for dementia. Salud Ment [online]. 2013, vol.36, n.3, pp.193-199. ISSN 0185-3325.

Dementias are progressive and neurodegenerative neuropsychiatry disorders, with a high worldwide prevalence. These disorders affect memory and behavior, causing impairment in the performance of daily activities and general disability in the elders. Cognitive impairment in these patients is related to anatomical and structural alterations at cellular and sub-cellular levels in the Central Nervous System. In particular, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillar tangles have been defined as histopathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. Likewise, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation are implicated in the etiology and progression of the disease. Neuronal precursors from human olfactory neuroepithelium have been recently characterized as an experimental model to identify neuropsychiatric disease biomarkers. Moreover, this model not only allows the study of neuropsychiatric physiopathology, but also the process of neurodevelopment at cellular, molecular and pharmacological levels. This review gathers the evidence to support the potential therapeutic use of melatonin for dementias, based on its antioxidant properties, its anti-inflammatory effect in the brain, and its ability to inhibit both tau hyper-phosphorylation and amyloid plaque formation. Furthermore, since melatonin stimulates neurogenesis, and promotes neuronal differentiation by inducing the early stages of neuritogenesis and dendrite formation, it has been suggested that melatonin could be useful to counteract the cognitive impairment in dementia patients.

Palavras-chave : Melatonin; dementia; biomarkers; neuroepithelium; neuritogenesis.

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