Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity

A review

J. Cipolla-Neto, F. G. Amaral, S. C. Afeche, D. X. Tan, Russel J Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

178 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Melatonin is an old and ubiquitous molecule in nature showing multiple mechanisms of action and functions in practically every living organism. In mammals, pineal melatonin functions as a hormone and a chronobiotic, playing a major role in the regulation of the circadian temporal internal order. The anti-obesogen and the weight-reducing effects of melatonin depend on several mechanisms and actions. Experimental evidence demonstrates that melatonin is necessary for the proper synthesis, secretion, and action of insulin. Melatonin acts by regulating GLUT4 expression and/or triggering, via its G-protein-coupled membrane receptors, the phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and its intracellular substrates mobilizing the insulin-signaling pathway. Melatonin is a powerful chronobiotic being responsible, in part, by the daily distribution of metabolic processes so that the activity/feeding phase of the day is associated with high insulin sensitivity, and the rest/fasting is synchronized to the insulin-resistant metabolic phase of the day. Furthermore, melatonin is responsible for the establishment of an adequate energy balance mainly by regulating energy flow to and from the stores and directly regulating the energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue and participating in the browning process of white adipose tissue. The reduction in melatonin production, as during aging, shift-work or illuminated environments during the night, induces insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, sleep disturbance, and metabolic circadian disorganization characterizing a state of chronodisruption leading to obesity. The available evidence supports the suggestion that melatonin replacement therapy might contribute to restore a more healthy state of the organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-381
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pineal Research
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Melatonin
Energy Metabolism
Obesity
Insulin
Insulin Resistance
White Adipose Tissue
Brown Adipose Tissue
Glucose Intolerance
Insulin Receptor
G-Protein-Coupled Receptors
Mammals
Fasting
Sleep
Phosphorylation
Hormones
Weights and Measures
Membranes

Keywords

  • circadian rhythm
  • energy metabolism
  • insulin
  • melatonin
  • obesity
  • review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Cipolla-Neto, J., Amaral, F. G., Afeche, S. C., Tan, D. X., & Reiter, R. J. (2014). Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity: A review. Journal of Pineal Research, 56(4), 371-381. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpi.12137

Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity : A review. / Cipolla-Neto, J.; Amaral, F. G.; Afeche, S. C.; Tan, D. X.; Reiter, Russel J.

In: Journal of Pineal Research, Vol. 56, No. 4, 2014, p. 371-381.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cipolla-Neto, J, Amaral, FG, Afeche, SC, Tan, DX & Reiter, RJ 2014, 'Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity: A review', Journal of Pineal Research, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 371-381. https://doi.org/10.1111/jpi.12137
Cipolla-Neto, J. ; Amaral, F. G. ; Afeche, S. C. ; Tan, D. X. ; Reiter, Russel J. / Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity : A review. In: Journal of Pineal Research. 2014 ; Vol. 56, No. 4. pp. 371-381.
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