Melatonin, longevity and health in the aged: An assessment

Russel J. Reiter, Dun Xian Tan, Juan C. Mayo, Rosa M. Sainz, Silvia Lopez-Burillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


This brief review considers the potential role of melatonin in the processes of aging, the prolongation of life span and health in the aged. Studies completed to date generally suggest that exogenously administered melatonin may serve to extend life span in invertebrates, but evidence supporting this conclusion in mammals is less compelling. Thus, any conclusion regarding a role for melatonin in extending normal longevity, particularly in mammals, would be premature. With regard to deferring the signs of chemically-induced neurodegenerative conditions in experimental animals, the data are remarkably strong and there is a modicum of evidence that in humans with debilitating diseases melatonin may have some beneficial actions. Indeed, this should be one focus of future research since as the number of elderly increases in the population, the frequency of costly age-related diseases will become increasingly burdensome to both the patient and to society as a whole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1329
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Age-related diseases
  • Aging
  • Longevity
  • Melatonin
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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