Melatonin as a Potential Approach to Anxiety Treatment

Kristina Repova, Tomas Baka, Kristina Krajcirovicova, Peter Stanko, Silvia Aziriova, Russel J. Reiter, Fedor Simko

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Anxiety disorders are the most common mental diseases. Anxiety and the associated physical symptoms may disturb social and occupational life and increase the risk of somatic diseases. The pathophysiology of anxiety development is complex and involves alterations in stress hormone production, neurosignaling pathways or free radical production. The various manifestations of anxiety, its complex pathophysiological background and the side effects of available treatments underlie the quest for constantly seeking therapies for these conditions. Melatonin, an indolamine produced in the pineal gland and released into the blood on a nightly basis, has been demonstrated to exert anxiolytic action in animal experiments and different clinical conditions. This hormone influences a number of physiological actions either via specific melatonin receptors or by receptor-independent pleiotropic effects. The underlying pathomechanism of melatonin’s benefit in anxiety may reside in its sympatholytic action, interaction with the renin–angiotensin and glucocorticoid systems, modulation of interneuronal signaling and its extraordinary antioxidant and radical scavenging nature. Of importance, the concentration of this indolamine is significantly higher in cerebrospinal fluid than in the blood. Thus, ensuring sufficient melatonin production by reducing light pollution, which suppresses melatonin levels, may represent an endogenous neuroprotective and anxiolytic treatment. Since melatonin is freely available, economically undemanding and has limited side effects, it may be considered an additional or alternative treatment for various conditions associated with anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16187
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • melatonin
  • neurohumoral activation
  • oxidative stress
  • sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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