Current Neuropharmacology

T.E. Salt
University College London
Institute of Ophthalmology
London EC1V 9EL


Melatonin in Antinociception: Its Therapeutic Applications

Author(s): Venkatramanujam Srinivasan, Edward C. Lauterbach, Khek Yu Ho, Dario Acuna-Castroviejo, Rahimah Zakaria and Amnon Brzezinski

Affiliation: Sri Sathya Sai Medical Educational and Research Foundation, Medical Sciences Research Study Center, Prasanthi Nilayam, 40-Kovai Thirunagar, Coimbatore-641014, Tamilnadu, India.


The intensity of pain sensation exhibits marked day and night variations. Since the intensity of pain perception is low during dark hours of the night when melatonin levels are high, this hormone has been implicated as one of the prime antinociceptive substances. A number of studies have examined the antinociceptive role of melatonin in acute, inflammatory and neuropathic pain animal models. It has been demonstrated that melatonin exerts antinociceptive actions by acting at both spinal cord and supraspinal levels. The mechanism of antinociceptive actions of melatonin involves opioid, benzodiazepine, α1- and α2-adrenergic, serotonergic and cholinergic receptors. Most importantly however, the involvement of MT1/MT2 melatonergic receptors in the spinal cord has been well documented as an antinociceptive mechanism in a number of animal models of pain perception. Exogenous melatonin has been used effectively in the management of pain in medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and migraine and cluster headache. Melatonin has been tried during surgical operating conditions and has been shown to enhance both preoperative and post-operative analgesia. The present review discusses the available evidence indicating that melatonin, acting through MT1/MT2 melatonin receptors, plays an important role in the pathophysiological mechanism of pain.

Keywords: Pain, nociception, analgesia, melatonin, inflammatory, neuropathic, fibromyalgia, cluster headache, migraine

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Article Details

Page: [167 - 178]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/157015912800604489
Price: $58