Glucose: A vital toxin and potential utility of melatonin in protecting against the diabetic state

Ahmet Korkmaz, Shuran Ma, Turgut Topal, Sergio Rosales-Corral, Dun Xian Tan, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The molecular mechanisms including elevated oxidative and nitrosative reactants, activation of pro-inflammatory transcription factors and subsequent inflammation appear as a unified pathway leading to metabolic deterioration resulting from hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance. Consistent evidence reveals that chronically-elevated blood glucose initiates a harmful series of processes in which toxic reactive species play crucial roles. As a consequence, the resulting nitro-oxidative stress harms virtually all biomolecules including lipids, proteins and DNA leading to severely compromised metabolic activity. Melatonin is a multifunctional indoleamine which counteracts several pathophysiologic steps and displays significant beneficial effects against hyperglycemia-induced cellular toxicity. Melatonin has the capability of scavenging both oxygen and nitrogen-based reactants and blocking transcriptional factors which induce pro-inflammatory cytokines. These functions contribute to melatonin's antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and possibly epigenetic regulatory properties. Additionally, melatonin restores adipocyte glucose transporter-4 loss and eases the effects of insulin resistance associated with the type 2 diabetic state and may also assist in the regulation of body weight in these patients. Current knowledge suggests the clinical use of this non-toxic indoleamine in conjunction with other treatments for inhibition of the negative consequences of hyperglycemia for reducing insulin resistance and for regulating the diabetic state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-137
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 26 2012


  • Diabetes
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Melatonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


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