The role exerted by melatonin in human physiology has not been completely ascertained. Melatonin levels have been measured in different physiopathological conditions, but the effects induced by melatonin administration or withdrawal have been tested only recently. Some effects have been clearly documented. Melatonin has hypothermic properties, and its nocturnal secretion generates about 40% of the amplitude of the circadian body temperature rhythm. Melatonin has sleep inducing properties, and exerts important activities in the regulation of circadian rhythms. Melatonin is capable of phase shifting human circadian rhythms, of entraining free-running circadian rhythms, and of antagonizing phase shifts induced by nighttime exposure to light. Its effect on human reproduction is not completely clear, but stimulatory effects on gonadotropin secretion have been reported in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Direct actions on ovarian cells and spermatozoa have been also documented. Beside these, new important actions for melatonin may be proved. Melatonin may exert protective effects on the cardiovascular system, by reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and hypertension, and may influence immune responses. Finally by acting as an antioxidant, melatonin could be important in slowing the processes of ageing.
|Anno di pubblicazione:||1996|
|Titolo:||Melatonin in relation to physiology in adult humans|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo su rivista|
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