Melatonin as a potential therapeutic agent in psychiatric illness

Maria D. Maldonado, Russel J. Reiter, Maria A. Pérez-San-Gregorio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The aim of this review was to summarize the potential use of melatonin in the treatment of mental disorders, specifically bipolar disorders, depression, and schizophrenia. To date, melatonin has been most commonly used in psychiatry because of its hypnotic, rhythm resynchronizing, and antioxidant actions. Here, we examine other properties of the melatonin including its anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, anxiolytic, and drug detoxification actions as well as its protective effects against neural loss. The brain is an intricate sensory and motor organ which receives information from both the external and internal environments. It transduces information into complex chemical and electrical signals which are transmitted throughout the central nervous system (CNS) and the organism. The pathogenesis of mental disorders remains ambiguous and neuroinflammation has been proposed as a causative agent. We consider the potential contributions of melatonin as therapeutic agent in CNS and during neuroinflammation in mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-400
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009


  • Immune function
  • Major psychiatric disorders
  • Melatonin
  • Neuroinflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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