Special Issue "Advances in the Research of Melatonin"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2013)
Prof. Dr. Rudiger Hardeland
Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Goettingen, Berliner Str. 28, D-37073 Goettingen, Germany
Accumulating evidence indicates an important role of melatonin and melatonergic signaling for the well-functioning of a body. Both physiological and psychological impairments can be associated with decreases of melatonin levels, as observed in the course of aging or as a consequence of various diseases and disorders. The multiplicity of possible changes reflects the extraordinary pleiotropy of this hormone. The association of deviations in melatonergic signaling with mental and metabolic disorders, in particular, diabetes type 2, is supported by knockouts and polymorphisms of genes involved in melatonin biosynthesis or signaling. An overlap with similar findings concerning genes of circadian oscillators indicates a significant chronobiological role of melatonin in the maintenance of health. High nocturnal levels of melatonin, which imply large amplitudes of the melatonin rhythm, synchronize other rhythms with external cycles and within the circadian multioscillator system. They support the maintenance of high amplitudes of peripheral rhythms, as shown by melatonin deficiency. They have also been interpreted as an indicator of youthfulness. Conversely, the decline of nocturnal melatonin leads to numerous undesired changes, including impairments in both detoxification and production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, increased susceptibility to these reactive compounds, mitochondrial dysfunction, reductions in immune functions, sleep disturbances and, eventually, mood disorders. To overcome these problems, prolonged-release formulations of melatonin and various synthetic melatonergic agonists have been developed, some of which combine melatonergic signaling with additional properties of possible value in the treatment of depressive symptoms and metabolic disorders.
Prof. Dr. Rudiger Hardeland
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- antioxidative protection
- bipolar disorder
- immune system
- melatonergic drugs
- metabolic syndrome
- seasonal affective disorder