Melatonin: its possible role in the management of viral infections--a brief review

Ital J Pediatr. 2013 Oct 3;39:61. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-39-61.

Abstract

Melatonin, a versatile molecule, is synthesized by the pineal gland but also by other organs, including gastrointestinal tract, retina, thymus, bone marrow, and by leukocytes. Besides playing an important role in various functions of the body, including sleep and circadian rhythm regulation, melatonin also shows immunoregulatory, free radical scavenger and antioxidant functions. Because of these latter characteristics melatonin has also been found to be effective in fighting viral infections in a variety of experimental animal and in vitro studies. These data suggest a possible therapeutic potential of melatonin in human virus-induced disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Encephalitis, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Encephalitis, Viral / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy

Substances

  • Antioxidants
  • Melatonin