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Assessment of the Potential Role of Tryptophan as the Precursor of Serotonin and Melatonin for the Aged Sleep-wake Cycle and Immune Function: Streptopelia Risoria as a Model

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Author(s): Sergio D. Paredes | Carmen Barriga | Russel J. Reiter | Ana B. Rodríguez

Journal: International Journal of Tryptophan Research
ISSN 1178-6469

Volume: 2;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: Neuroscience | neurology

ABSTRACT
In the present review we summarize the relationship between the amino acid, tryptophan, the neurotransmitter, serotonin, and the indole, melatonin, with the rhythms of sleep/wake and the immune response along with the possible connections between the alterations in these rhythms due to aging and the so-called “serotonin and melatonin deficiency state.” The decrease associated with aging of the brain and circulating levels of serotonin and melatonin seemingly contributes to the alterations of both the sleep/wake cycle and the immune response that typically accompany old age. The supplemental administration of tryptophan, e.g. the inclusion of tryptophan-enriched food in the diet, might help to remediate these age- related alterations due to its capacity of raise the serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain and blood. Herein, we also summarize a set of studies related to the potential role that tryptophan, and its derived product melatonin, may play in the restoration of the aged circadian rhythms of sleep/wake and immune response, taking the ringdove (Streptopelia risoria) as a suitable model.
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