The pro-oxidant activity of aluminum (Al), the protective role of exogenous melatonin, as well as the mRNA levels of some antioxidant enzymes, were determined in cortex and cerebellum of rats following exposure to Al and/or melatonin. Two groups of male rats received intraperitoneal injections of Al lactate or melatonin at doses of 7 mg Al/kg/day and 10 mg/kg/day, respectively, for 11 wk. A third group of animals received concurrently Al lactate (7 mg Al/kg/day) plus melatonin (10 mg/kg/day) during the same period. A fourth group of rats was used as control. At the end of the treatment, the cerebral cortex and cerebellum were removed and processed to examine the following oxidative stress markers: glutathione transferase (GST), reduced glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase (CAT), thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), as well as protein content. Moreover, gene expression of Cu-ZnSOD, MnSOD, GPx and CAT was evaluated by real-time RT-PCR. On the other hand, Al, Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn concentrations were determined in cortex and cerebellum of rats. Oxidative stress was promoted in both neural regions following Al administration, resulting from the pro-oxidant activity related with an increase in tissue Al concentrations. In contrast, melatonin exerted an antioxidant action which was related with an increase in the mRNA levels of the antioxidant enzymes evaluated. The results of the present investigation emphasize the potential use of melatonin as a supplement in the therapy of neurological disorders in which oxidative stress is involved.