Melatonin in bacterial and viral infections with focus on sepsis: a review.


Srinivasan V, Mohamed M, Kato H




In: Recent Pat Endocr Metab Immune Drug Discov. 2012 Jan;6(1):30-9.

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Melatonin is a versatile molecule, synthesized not only by the pineal gland, but also in small amounts by many other organs like retina, gastrointestinal tract, thymus, bone marrow, lymphocytes etc.

It plays an important role in various functions of the body like sleep and circadian rhythm regulation, immunoregulatory mechanism, free radical scavenger, antioxidant functions, oncostatic actions, control of reproductive functions, regulation of mood etc. Melatonin has also been found to be effective in combating various bacterial and viral infections. Its administration has been shown to be effective in controlling chlamydial infections, infections induced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and also in many viral infections. Molecular mechanisms of anti microbial actions of melatonin have suggested to be due to effects on free radical formation, direct regulation of duplication of bacteria, depletion of intracellular substrates like iron etc. Besides, it is effective in sepsis as demonstrated in various animal models of septic shock. Melatonin’s protective action against sepsis is suggested to be due to its antioxidant, immunomodulating and inhibitory actions against the production and activation of pro-inflammatory mediators.

Use of melatonin has been beneficial in treating premature infants suffering from severe respiratory distress syndrome and septic shock. It has a potential therapeutic value in treating septic shock and associated multi organ failure in critically ill patients in addition to its antimicrobial and antiviral actions. The patents related to melatonin’s use for treatment of bacterial infections and its use in clinical disorders are included.

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