, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 681–692 | Cite as

Melatonin protects lung mitochondria from aging

  • Darío Acuña-Castroviejo
  • Miguel Carretero
  • Carolina Doerrier
  • Luis C. López
  • Laura García-Corzo
  • Jesús A. Tresguerres
  • Germaine Escames


We assessed whether melatonin administration would prevent the hyperoxidative status that occurs in lung mitochondria with age. Mitochondria from lungs of male and female senescent prone mice at 5 and 10 months of age were studied. Age-dependent mitochondrial oxidative stress was evaluated by measuring the levels of lipid peroxidation and nitrite, glutathione/glutathione disulfide ratio, and glutathione peroxidase and reductase activities. Mitochondrial respiratory chain and oxidative phosphorylation capability were also measured. Age induces a significant oxidative/nitrosative status in lung mitochondria, which exhibited a significantly reduced activity of the respiratory chain and ATP production. These manifestations of age were more pronounced in males than in females. After 9 months of melatonin administration in the drinking water, the hyperoxidative status and functional deficiency of aged lung mitochondria were totally counteracted, and had increased ATP production. The beneficial effects of melatonin were generally similar in both mice genders. Thus, melatonin administration, as a single therapy, maintained fully functioning lung mitochondria during aging, a finding with important consequences in the pathophysiology of lung aging. In view of these data melatonin, the production of which decreases with age, should be considered a preventive therapy against the hyperoxidative status of the aged lungs, and its use may lead to the avoidance of respiratory complications in the elderly.


Lung Aging Mitochondria Respiratory chain Oxidative phosphorylation Oxidative stress 



The authors thank A. Puertas for technical assistance. This study was partially supported by grants from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (RD06/0013/0008, PI08-1664), and from the Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa, Junta de Andalucía (P07-CTS-03135 and CTS-101).


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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darío Acuña-Castroviejo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Miguel Carretero
    • 1
  • Carolina Doerrier
    • 1
    • 3
  • Luis C. López
    • 1
    • 3
  • Laura García-Corzo
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jesús A. Tresguerres
    • 4
  • Germaine Escames
    • 1
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Instituto de Biotecnología, Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Parque Tecnológico de Ciencias de la SaludUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Análisis ClínicosHospital Universitario San CecilioGranadaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad de GranadaGranadaSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain
  5. 5.Centro de Investigación Biomédica, Parque Tecnológico de Ciencias de la SaludArmilla, GranadaSpain

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