N-acetylserotonin suppresses hepatic microsomal membrane rigidity associated with lipid peroxidation

Joaquín J. García, Russel J. Reiter, Malgorzata Karbownik, Juan R. Calvo, Genaro G. Ortiz, Dun Xian Tan, Enrique Martínez-Ballarín, Darío Acua-Castroviejo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


N-acetylserotonin, the immediate precursor of melatonin in the tryptophan metabolic pathway in the pineal gland, has been reported to be an antioxidant. The aim of this work was to test the effect of N-acetylserotonin in stabilizing biological membranes against oxidative stress. Hepatic microsomal membranes from male adult rats were incubated with N-acetylserotonin (0.001-3 mM) before inducing lipid peroxidation using FeCl3, ADP and NADPH. Control experiments were done by incubating microsomal membranes with N-acetylserotonin in the absence of lipid peroxidation-inducing drugs. Membrane fluidity was assessed by fluorescence spectroscopy and malonaldehyde plus 4-hydroxyalkenals concentrations were measured to estimate the degree of lipid peroxidation. Free radicals induced by the combination of FeCl3 + ADP + NADPH produced a significant decrease in the microsomal membrane fluidity, which was associated with an increase in the malonaldehyde plus 4-hydroxyalkenals levels. These changes were suppressed in a concentration-dependent manner when N-acetylserotonin was added in the incubation buffer. In the absence of lipid peroxidation, N-acetylserotonin (0.001-3 mM) did not change membrane fluidity nor malonaldehyde plus 4-hydroxyalkenals levels. These results suggest that the protective role of N-acetylserotonin in preserving optimal levels of fluidity of the biological membranes may be related to its ability to reduce lipid peroxidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 5 2001


  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Membrane fluidity
  • Microsome
  • N-acetylserotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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