After the successful discovery of the melatonin molecule by Aaron B Lerner et al at Yale University in 1958, melatonin and the pineal gland, a tiny endocrine gland situated at the center of the human brain, have primarily been considered in terms of their effects on the endocrine and reproductive systems. During the last decade, a substantial body of research has defined melatonin as a remarkable molecule with pleiotropic effects on the immune system. Moreover, its synthesis cannot be considered as exclusively endocrine; key immunocompetent cells have the functional enzymatic machinery for melatonin synthesis, paving the way for complex intracrine, autocrine and paracrine regulatory loops. The immunomodulatory role of melatonin, with regard to infection, inflammation and autoimmunity, is outlined here, and the evidence discussed in this review strengthens the notion that the nature of an immune response may be modified, and therefore therapeutically manipulated, by circadian effector signals.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Current Opinion in Investigational Drugs|
|State||Published - May 1 2006|
- Extrapineal melatonin
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery