Involvement of the nitric oxide in melatonin-mediated protection against injury

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Melatonin is a hormone mainly synthesized by the pineal gland in vertebrates and known well as an endogenous regulator of circadian and seasonal rhythms. It has been demonstrated that melatonin is involved in many physiological and pathophysiological processes showing antioxidant, anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical gas in the biological system, which is produced by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) family. NO acts as a biological mediator and plays important roles in different systems in humans. The NO/NOS system exerts a broad spectrum of signaling functions. Accumulating evidence has clearly revealed that melatonin regulates NO/NOS system through multiple mechanisms that may influence physiological and pathophysiological processes. This article reviews the latest evidence for the effects of melatonin on NO/NOS regulation in different organs and disease conditions, the potential cellular mechanisms by which melatonin is involved in organ protection are discussed.

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