The Pineal Gland and Cancer

pp 294-306

Experimental Studies of the Pineal Gland Preparation Epithalamin

  • Vladimir Kh. Khavinson
  • , V. G. Morozov
  • , Vladimir N. Anisimov

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Twenty-five years of study have shown a wide spectrum of high biological activity of the pineal peptide preparation epithalamin. Long-term exposure to epithalamin was followed by an increase in the mean and maximum life spans and slower rates of aging of rats, mice, and D. melanogaster. Epithalamin increases pineal synthesis of serotonin, N-acetylserotonin, and melatonin and night pineal secretion of melatonin in adult and old rats. The pineal preparation decreases the luteinizing hormone and prolactin levels in adult male rats as well as the threshold of the hypothalamopituitary complex to feedback inhibition by estrogens in old female rats; it slows dawn age-related cessation of estrous function in rats and induces the recurrence of estrous cydes and fertility in old, persistently estrous rats. Epithalamin increases the levels of triiodothyronine and decreases thyroxine in serum of adult rats. It further decreases the levels of corticosterone in the serum of mice and increases the susceptibility of the hypothalamo-pituitary complex to the homeostatic inhibition of adrenocorticotropic function by glucocorticoids in old rats. Serum insulin and triglyceride levels in rabbits are decreased by epithalamin and the tolerance to glucose and diuresis are increased. With respect to immune function, it was found that T and B cell-mediated immunity in adult and old mice as well as the titer of thymic serum factor and the titer of thymosin-like compounds in old mice are stimulated by the pineal peptide preparation in the same way as the colony-forming activity of splenocytes in pinealectomized rats. Epithalamin inhibits spontaneous and induced carcinogenesis and is a potent antioxidant, decreasing lipid peroxidation and stimulating the activity of CuZn superoxide dismutase. The obtained results demonstrate a high efficiency of epithalamin therapy for prophylaxis of age-related pathology, including cancer, showing a new physiological way to slow down pathological processes and to extend human life spans.