Over the last several decades the pineal gland has emerged as an active neuroendocrine transducer of important environmental information. However, the current understanding of the function of its major hormone, melatonin, in humans remains ill defined and based exclusively on correlative observations. In a similar manner, the multitude of phenomenological descriptions of the effects of exogenous melatonin is contrasted by the limited understanding of the underlying mechanisms and the lack of firmly established clinical applications for the hormone. Future randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled clinical studies will be necessary to determine the precise indications, treatment regimens, and safety of melatonin in clinical practice. The recent rapid progress in the area of melatonin research should lead to a better understanding of its role in human health and disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology