A potential role for crystallization inhibitors in treatment of Alzheimer's disease

Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jan;74(1):118-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.07.029. Epub 2009 Aug 8.


Melatonin is a hormone synthesized from the neurotransmitter serotonin and is found mainly in the pineal gland. Melatonin has been suggested to have several properties, acting both as an antioxidant and a neuroprotective agent. Melatonin synthesis decreases with age in all humans, but this decline is more pronounced in Alzheimer's patients. In fact, melatonin inhibits the formation of beta-amyloid protein. The mechanism responsible for this decline has not been fully elucidated, although it is known that the human pineal gland calcifies with age. Such calcification necessarily implies the existence of a tissue injury that, if not reabsorbed by the immune system, will act as heterogeneous nucleant for hydroxyapatite and will induce calcification. For this reason, it is hypothesized that a lack of inhibitors of calcium salt crystallization, such as pyrophosphate and phytate, will favor calcification. Therefore, the absence of crystallization inhibitors may be a risk factor for development of Alzheimer's disease, and this hypothesis should be evaluated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Calcium / chemistry
  • Diphosphates / chemistry
  • Durapatite / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / pharmacology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Pineal Gland / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Salts / chemistry


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Antioxidants
  • Diphosphates
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Salts
  • Durapatite
  • Melatonin
  • Calcium