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Melatonin’s protection against cancer

Zeeuw, J.L. de (2009) Melatonin’s protection against cancer. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Melatonin the primary hormone of the pineal gland appears to be one of the most important and multifunctional hormones. In this bachelor thesis the possible ways of how melatonin protects against cancer were reviewed. Most research of melatonin’s protective function against cancer is done in breast cancer cells. Therefore a further question addressed here is “why and how does melatonin protect against hormonal cancers?” Melatonin influences cancer cells in several ways. It has an immunomodulatory action on the immune system and can protect the bone marrow during chemotherapy. Melatonin has a protective function against free radical damage by working as one of the most efficient antioxidants of the body. As an antioxidant melatonin inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase, scavenges peroxinitrite, detoxifies free radicals and supports superoxide dismutase. These effects and because melatonin has no prooxidative actions make melatonin better then any of the classical antioxidants in protecting against cell damage and by this way protecting against cancer. Melatonin has an antiproliferative effect in cancer cells by affecting the cell cycle. Two ways in which melatonin affects the cell cycle might be via the up regulation of the tumor suppressor gene p 53 and by working as a calmodulin antagonist. Furthermore melatonin might protect against cancer by keeping the gap junctions intact and melatonin can inhibit the growth of tumor cells by inhibiting linoleic acid uptake. In addition melatonin can influence the sex hormones. Melatonin may suppress the estrogen response pathway in breast cancer cells by modulation of the synthesis of estradiol induced growth factors and by altering their capacity to act on their cellular targets. Concluding, although melatonin seems to be able to affect cancer cells in many ways the mechanisms by which melatonin may be protective against cancer are not completely understood and proven but need more research.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:28
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:28

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