Melatonin and development: physiology and pharmacology

Semin Perinatol. 2000 Aug;24(4):258-66. doi: 10.1053/sper.2000.8594.


This review discusses the development of melatonin rhythmicity in humans and the factors that may alter the appearance of melatonin rhythms. The literature on the possible consequences of disordered melatonin production in relation to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, fetal origins of adult disease, and scoliosis is critically reviewed. Finally, the emerging use of melatonin to correct sleep disorders in infants and children is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Melatonin / deficiency
  • Melatonin / physiology*
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Scoliosis / etiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy
  • Sudden Infant Death / etiology


  • Melatonin