Cyclic 3-hydroxymelatonin, a key metabolite enhancing the peroxyl radical scavenging activity of melatonin

Annia Galano, Dun Xian Tan, Russel J. Reiter

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52 Scopus citations


The reactions of cyclic 3-hydroxymelatonin (3-OHM) with hydroxyl (OH) and hydroperoxyl (OOH) radicals were studied using Density Functional Theory. Two environments, mimicking lipid and aqueous solutions, have been modelled. Three mechanisms of reaction were considered: radical adduct formation (RAF), hydrogen transfer (HT), and single electron transfer (SET). Their relative importance for the free radical scavenging activity of 3-OHM was assessed. It was found that 3-OHM reacts with OH at diffusion-limited rates, regardless of the polarity of the environment, which supports its excellent OH radical scavenging activity. The overall reactivity of 3-OHM towards this radical was found to be similar, but slightly higher than those of melatonin and two other metabolites (N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine, AMK; and N1-acetyl-N 2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine, AFMK). For the reaction with OOH, 3-OHM was found to react several orders of magnitude faster, in aqueous solution, than melatonin, AMK and AFMK. Furthermore, under these conditions 3-OHM was found to react with OOH about 98.4 times faster than Trolox. This seems to be a very important finding since it has been proposed that melatonin, AMK and AFMK are rather ineffective as peroxyl radical scavengers, while 3-OHM is predicted to be very efficient. Therefore, it is proposed that the protective effects of melatonin against peroxyl radicals become important after being metabolized into 3-OHM. Accordingly, the results presented in this work not only support the continuous protection against oxidative stress exerted by melatonin, through its free radical scavenging cascade, but also the important role of 3-OHM on the peroxyl radical scavenging activity of melatonin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5220-5227
Number of pages8
JournalRSC Advances
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 13 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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