The role of melatonin in parasite biology

Piero Bagnaresi, Myna Nakabashi, Andrew P. Thomas, Russel J. Reiter, Célia R.S. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Regarded as the circadian hormone in mammals, melatonin is a highly conserved molecule, present in nearly all species. In this review, we discuss the role of this indolamine and its precursors in the cell biology of parasites and the role of the molecule in the physiology of the host. In Plasmodium, melatonin can modulate intracellular concentrations of calcium and cAMP, which in turn can regulate kinase activity and cell cycle. In Trypanosoma infections, modulation of the immune system by melatonin is extremely important in controlling the parasite population. Melatonin also contributes to the inflammatory response to Toxoplasma gondii infection. Thus, there are a number of unique adaptations involving intricate connections between melatonin and the biology of the parasite-host relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Malaria
  • Melatonin
  • Plasmodium chabaudi, Calcium signaling
  • Plasmodium falciparum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Parasitology


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