The pineal gland, through its hormone melatonin is involved in animal and human reproduction. It has been suggested that melatonin may be involved in the aging process (8). Melatonin is produced and secreted into the blood in a circadian rhythm with maximal production always during the dark phase of the day. The 24h rhythm of melatonin production is very robust in young animals, but this circa-dian rhythm deteriorates with age. Thus, in old animals the amounts of melatonin secreted are lower than that of young individuals and the supplemental administration of melatonin may be beneficial in delaying age-related degenerative conditions (7). Long-term melatonin treatment in rats can postpone the age related decrease in survival rates, circulating sex steroids and 125I-melatonin binding sites in the brain (5).
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