Melatonin, its receptors, and relationships with biological rhythm disorders

Clin Neuropharmacol. 1997 Dec;20(6):482-510. doi: 10.1097/00002826-199712000-00002.


Melatonin is a neurohormone produced during the night by the pineal gland. Its secretion is regulated by circadian and seasonal variations in daylength, transmitted via visual projections to the suprachiasmatic nucleus which functions as a circadian clock in mammals. Melatonin has been proposed to act as an internal synchronizer of circadian rhythms generated at different levels of the organism. The chronobiotic effects of melatonin in humans have been mainly studied in circadian rhythm sleep disorders related to jet lag, shift work, blindness or aging. Alterations of the melatonin profiles have also been reported in other biological rhythm disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / biosynthesis
  • Melatonin / metabolism
  • Melatonin / pharmacokinetics
  • Melatonin / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / physiology*
  • Receptors, Melatonin


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Melatonin
  • Melatonin