Melatonin, Receptors, Mechanism, and Uses

Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy,2010,1,2,158-171.
Published:Jan, 2010
Type:Review Article

Melatonin, Receptors, Mechanism, and Uses

Omar SH, Nabi Saba1

Phytomedicine and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Research Lab., Department of Pharmacognosy and Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Prince of Songkhla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla- 90112, Thailand. 1College of Pharmacy, Qassim University, Buraydah-51452, Saudi Arabia


Melatonin, a hormone produced primarily by the pineal gland, is also secreted from the gut and eye during darkness. There are three classes of melatonin receptors, MT1, MT2, and MT3, in various regions of the human brain, gut, ovaries, and blood vessels, but most consistently found in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus and the pars tuberalis of the anterior pituitary. Melatonin has endocrine, autocrine, and paracrine actions, which are mostly receptor mediated. Primary clinical uses include the regulation of circadian rhythms and sleep disorders, although it has other endocrine, immunomodulatory, and oncostatic effects. This review summarizes the current state of melatonin research with an emphasis on its receptors, pharmacological effects, and clinical therapeutic uses.