Background: Melatonin is a molecule with numerous properties applicable to the
treatment of neurological diseases. Among these properties are the following: potent scavenger
of oxygen and nitrogen reactive species, anti-inflammatory features, immuno-enhancing
nature, and modulation of circadian rhythmicity. Furthermore, low concentrations of melatonin
are usually found in patients with neurological diseases and mental disorders. The
positive results obtained in experimental models of diverse pathologies, including diseases of
the nervous system (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis,
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, epilepsy, headaches, etc.) as well as
mental and behavioural disordes (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorders, etc.), have served as a basis for the design of clinical trials to study
melatonin's possible usefulness in human pathology, although the satisfactory results obtained
from the laboratory “bench” are not always applicable to the patient's “bedside”.
Objective: In this article, we review those papers describing the results of the administration
of melatonin to humans for various therapeutic purposes in the field of neuropathology.
Conclusion: Clinical trials with strong methodologies and appropriate doses of melatonin are
necessary to support or reject the usefulness of melatonin in neurological diseases.
Keywords: Melatonin, Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
Huntington's disease, autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, headaches, epilepsy, spinal
cord injury, ischemic stroke, sleep disorders.
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