Melatonin, an endogenous indoleamine, is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecule widely distributed in the body. It efficiently regulates pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines under various pathophysiological conditions. The melatonin rhythm, which is strongly associated with oxidative lesions and mitochondrial dysfunction, is also observed during the biological process of aging. Melatonin levels decline considerably with age and are related to numerous age-related illnesses.
The signs of aging, including immune aging, increased basal inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, significant telomeric abrasion, and disrupted autophagy, contribute to the increased severity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. These characteristics can worsen the pathophysiological response of the elderly to SARS-CoV-2 and pose an additional risk of accelerating biological aging even after recovery.
This review explains that the death rate of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increases with chronic diseases and age, and the decline in melatonin levels, which is closely related to the mitochondrial dysfunction in the patient, affects the virus-related death rate. Further, melatonin can enhance mitochondrial function and limit virus-related diseases. Hence, melatonin supplementation in older people may be beneficial for the treatment of COVID-19.