Latest research on Melatonin

Melatonin is a biogenic amine that is found in animals, plants and microbes. Aaron B. Lerner of Yale University is credited for naming the hormone and for defining its chemical structure in 1958. In mammals, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland. The pineal gland is small endocrine gland, about the size of a rice grain and shaped like a pine cone (hence the name), that is located in the center of the brain (rostro-dorsal to the superior colliculus) but outside the blood-brain barrier. The secretion of melatonin increases in darkness and decreases during exposure to light, thereby regulating the circadian rhythms of several biological functions, including the sleep-wake cycle. In particular, melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature. Melatonin is also implicated in the regulation of mood, learning and memory, immune activity, dreaming, fertility and reproduction. Melatonin is also an effective antioxidant. Most of the actions of melatonin are mediated through the binding and activation of melatonin receptors. Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) may have lower than normal levels of melatonin. A 2008 study found that unaffected parents of individuals with ASD also have lower melatonin levels, and that the deficits were associated with low activity of the ASMT gene, which encodes the last enzyme of melatonin synthesis. Reduced melatonin production has also been proposed as a likely factor in the significantly higher cancer rates in night workers.

Latest findings

Catecholamines such as Dopamine and Norepinephrine, as well as serotonin, Melatonin, and adenosine, all attached strongly to the lipid bilayers in the NT-membrane simulations (Fig. 1; Table 1). [source, 2016]
Adenosine, Epinephrine, Epinephrine'>NorEpinephrine, Dopamine, serotonin, and Melatonin were found to attach reversibly predominantly to the extracellular and intracellular leaflets in the MD simulations (Table 1), stressing the preference for lipid binding. [source, 2016]
The antioxidants within the body are composed of antioxidant enzyme defenses (Table 2) and additional antioxidant compounds such as Melatonin and Glutathione that are internally synthesized. [source, 2016]
Moreover, our previous studies demonstrate other biomolecules such as histamine, chromogranin A (CgA), Melatonin, and Nitric oxide derivatives to be related to the periodontal bacterial load and severity of periodontitis, as well as some of them were restored by a non-surgical therapy and influenced by smoking and gender (Bertl et al., 2012, 2013; Haririan et al., 2012; Andrukhov et al., 2013). [source, 2016]
A prominent example is the possible physiological antagonism of Nifedipine, an antihypertensive agent, by Melatonin [58]. [source, 2016]
Melatonin is an endogenous antioxidant that plays an important role in protecting against free radical-induced oxidative damage [59]. [source, 2016]
While the exact mechanism is unknown, Melatonin is thought to interfere with nifedipine's mechanism of action through directly interacting with several enzymes involved in Calcium signalling including calmodulin or Adenylate cyclase. [source, 2016]
Certain eye pathologies have been associated with Sleep disorders due to the lack of control of circadian rhythm and Melatonin secretion caused by decreased photoreception, including Sleep disturbances from deprivation of blue light intake in patients with cataract8 and from damage to intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells in patients with glaucoma. [source, 2016]
A Melatonin receptor agonist, ramelteon (Roserem; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. [source, 2016]
Blue light shield eyewear, wearable light therapy lamps, herbal supplements, Melatonin agonists, and validated questionnaires are safe, easy, and useful tools for nonpsychiatrists to use in the basic care of poor sleepers. [source, 2016]