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Open AccessReview

The Relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Melatonin during Fetal Development

1
Department of Rehabilitation Science, Graduate School of Inje University, Gimhae 50834, Korea
2
Ubiquitous Healthcare & Anti-aging Research Center (u-HARC), Inje University, Gimhae 50834, Korea
3
Biohealth Products Research Center (BPRC), Inje University, Gimhae 50834, Korea
4
Department of Physical Therapy, College of Healthcare Medical Science & Engineering, Inje University, Gimhae 50834, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2018, 23(1), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23010198
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 9 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
The aim of this review is to clarify the interrelationship between melatonin and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during fetal development. ASD refers to a diverse range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social deficits, impaired communication, and stereotyped or repetitive behaviors. Melatonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland, has well-established neuroprotective and circadian entraining effects. During pregnancy, the hormone crosses the placenta into the fetal circulation and transmits photoperiodic information to the fetus allowing the establishment of normal sleep patterns and circadian rhythms that are essential for normal neurodevelopment. Melatonin synthesis is frequently impaired in patients with ASD. The hormone reduces oxidative stress, which is harmful to the central nervous system. Therefore, the neuroprotective and circadian entraining roles of melatonin may reduce the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; melatonin; fetal development; neuroprotection; circadian rhythm autism spectrum disorder; melatonin; fetal development; neuroprotection; circadian rhythm
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jin, Y.; Choi, J.; Won, J.; Hong, Y. The Relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Melatonin during Fetal Development. Molecules 2018, 23, 198.

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