The melatonergic system in mood and anxiety disorders and the role of agomelatine: implications for clinical practice

Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jun 13;14(6):12458-83. doi: 10.3390/ijms140612458.

Abstract

Melatonin exerts its actions through membrane MT1/MT2 melatonin receptors, which belong to the super family of G-protein-coupled receptors consisting of the typical seven transmembrane domains. MT1 and MT2 receptors are expressed in various tissues of the body either as single ones or together. A growing literature suggests that the melatonergic system may be involved in the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders. In fact, some core symptoms of depression show disturbance of the circadian rhythm in their clinical expression, such as diurnal mood and other symptomatic variation, or are closely linked to circadian system functioning, such as sleep-wake cycle alterations. In addition, alterations have been described in the circadian rhythms of several biological markers in depressed patients. Therefore, there is interest in developing antidepressants that have a chronobiotic effect (i.e., treatment of circadian rhythm disorders). As melatonin produces chronobiotic effects, efforts have been aimed at developing agomelatine, an antidepressant with melatonin agonist activity. The present paper reviews the role of the melatonergic system in the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders and the clinical characteristics of agomelatine. Implications of agomelatine in "real world" clinical practice will be also discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetamides / pharmacokinetics
  • Acetamides / pharmacology*
  • Acetamides / therapeutic use*
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Circadian Rhythm / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / metabolism*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*

Substances

  • Acetamides
  • S 20098
  • Melatonin