Copyright © 1996, 1997, 2001 by Galen Daryl Knight and VitaleTherapeutics, Inc.

Structural Homology Among Indoles

Melanin, the pigment responsible for dark skin in some peoples and for tanning after exposure to sunlight in light-skinned peoples, is produced from the "natural" indole and amino acid, tryptophan. Melatonin, which is synthesized by our bodies only in the dark, blocks the synthesis of melanin. Other structurally-related compounds have the potential for either blocking or mimicking melatonin depending upon the ligands that are attached either to the indole or to a related functional group (teleocidins or ethoxyquin, respectively). It is interesting that the teleocidins promote skin cancer while other indoles inhibit the induction of neoplasia. It is also interesting that ethoxyquin shares antioxidant properties with melatonin, but that the non-nutritive preservative has toxic side effects.
Structures of Indoles


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