The immunotherapeutic potential of melatonin

  title={The immunotherapeutic potential of melatonin},
  author={Georges J. M. Maestroni},
  journal={Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs},
  pages={467 - 476}
  • G. Maestroni
  • Published 1 March 2001
  • Biology
  • Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
The interaction between the brain and the immune system is essential for the adaptive response of an organism against environmental challenges. In this context, the pineal neurohormone melatonin (MEL) plays an important role. T-helper cells express G-protein coupled cell membrane MEL receptors and, perhaps, MEL nuclear receptors. Activation of MEL receptors enhances the release of T-helper cell Type 1 (Th1) cytokines, such as γ-interferon (γ-IFN) and IL-2, as well as of novel opioid cytokines… 

The role of melatonin in immuno‐enhancement: potential application in cancer

Melatonin seems to have a fundamental role as a system regulator in haemopoiesis and immuno‐enhancement, appears to be closely involved in several fundamental aspects of host defense and has the potential to be useful as an adjuvant tumour immunotherapeutic agent.

Immunomodulation by Melatonin: Its Significance for Seasonally Occurring Diseases

The clinical significance of the seasonally changing immunomodulatory role of melatonin is discussed in this review and may in part account for the cyclic pattern of symptom expression shown by certain infectious diseases.

Multiple Facets of Melatonin in Immunity: Clinical Applications

Overall, melatonin acts as an immune activator in basal or immunodepressed conditions, whereas it might exert a negative regulation under transient or chronic exacerbated immune response.

Melatonin and Immune Function: Clinical Significance

The immunomodulatory role for melatonin and its application in the control of infectious and neoplastic diseases is supported by the synthesis of melatonin by lymphocytes and thymus.

Melatonin, immune function and cancer.

Melatonin is effective in suppressing neoplastic growth in a variety of tumors like melanoma, breast and prostate cancer, and ovarian and colorectal cancer and can be beneficial in treating patients suffering from breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma or melanoma.

Immune Stimulation by Exogenous Melatonin During Experimental Endotoxemia

Exogenous melatonin is capable of enhancing the general immune response under inflammatory conditions and was only significant during per-acute endotoxemia.

The role of melatonin in autoimmune and atopic diseases

The role of melatonin is summarized in atopic diseases (atopic dermatitis and asthma) and in several autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis rheumatoid, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes mellitus, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Melatonin and viral infections

The immunomodulatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective effects of melatonin suggest that this indole must be considered as an additional therapeutic alternative to fight viral diseases.

A review of the multiple actions of melatonin on the immune system

The presence of immune system-synthesized melatonin, its direct immunomodulatory effects on cytokine production, and its masking effects on exogenous melatonin action are summarized.

The modulatory role of melatonin on immune responsiveness.

The immunomodulatory role of melatonin, with regard to infection, inflammation and autoimmunity, is outlined here, and the evidence discussed in this review strengthens the notion that the nature of an immune response may be modified, and therefore therapeutically manipulated, by circadian effector signals.



The photoperiod transducer melatonin and the immune-hematopoietic system.

  • G. Maestroni
  • Biology, Medicine
    Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology
  • 1998

T‐Helper‐2 lymphocytes as a peripheral target of melatonin *

The ability of rescuing hematopoiesis against the toxic action of cancer chemotherapeutic compounds and the presence of high‐affinity IL4 receptors on human tumors provide a further promising rationale for the clinical use of melatonin.

Melatonin as a therapeutic agent in experimental endotoxic shock

It is reported that a single melatonin injection protects mice treated with a lethal dose of lipolysaccharide especially when melatonin was injected 3 to 6 hr after LPS, and plasma nitrate concentration, which reflects the rate of NO synthesis, showed a significant reduction at 18 and 24 hr afterLPS administration.

The effect of melatonin on cellular activation processes in human blood

Melatonin may have a beneficial effect by suppressing the expression of TF activity in LPS‐stimulated monocytes of whole blood, which may be physiologically important in upregulation of the immune system.

Evidence for a direct action of melatonin on the immune system.

Regulation of the binding characteristics by physiological variation in melatonin levels and/or immunological status of the animals provide evidence that these 2-[125I]iodomelatonin binding sites in the lymphoid tissues may be physiologically significant and represent true melatonin receptors.

Hematopoietic effect of melatonin involvement of type 1 K‐opioid receptor on bone marrow macrophages and interleukin‐1

The presence of kORs in bone marrow macrophages is described and a hematopoietic function for melatonin via endogenous K‐opioid agonists and, possibly, IL‐I is suggested.