Melatonin Effects on Plasmodium Life Cycle: New Avenues for Therapeutic Approach

Author(s): Venkataramanujam Srinivasan, Asma H. Ahmad, Mahaneem Mohamed, Rahimah Zakaria

Journal Name: Recent Patents on Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Drug Discovery
Continued as New Advances on Endocrine Metabolic and Immune Diseases

Volume 6 , Issue 2 , 2012


Malaria remains a global health problem affecting more than 515 million people all over the world including Malaysia. It is on the rise, even within unknown regions that previous to this were free of malaria. Although malaria eradication programs carried out by vector control programs are still effective, anti-malarial drugs are also used extensively for curtailing this disease. But resistance to the use of anti-malarial drugs is also increasing on a daily basis. With an increased understanding of mechanisms that cause growth, differentiation and development of malarial parasites in rodents and humans, new avenues of therapeutic approaches for controlling the growth, synchronization and development of malarial parasites are essential. Within this context, the recent discoveries related to IP3 interconnected signalling pathways, the release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores of Plasmodium, ubiquitin protease systems as a signalling pathway, and melatonin influencing the growth and differentiation of malarial parasites by its effects on these signalling pathways have opened new therapeutic avenues for arresting the growth and differentiation of malarial parasites. Indeed, the use of melatonin antagonist, luzindole, has inhibited the melatonin’s effect on these signalling pathways and thereby has effectively reduced the growth and differentiation of malarial parasites. As Plasmodium has effective sensors which detect the nocturnal plasma melatonin concentrations, suppression of plasma melatonin levels with the use of bright light during the night or by anti-melatonergic drugs and by using anti-kinase drugs will help in eradicating malaria on a global level. A number of patients have been admitted with regards to the control and management of malarial growth. Patents related to the discovery of serpentine receptors on Plasmodium, essential for modulating intra parasitic melatonin levels, procedures for effective delivery of bright light to suppress plasma melatonin levels and thereby arresting the growth and elimination of malarial parasites from the blood of the host are all cited in the paper. The purpose of the paper is to highlight the importance of melatonin acting as a cue for Plasmodium faciparum growth and to discuss the ways of curbing the effects of melatonin on Plasmodium growth and for arresting its life cycle, as a method of eliminating the parasite from the host.

Keywords: Anti-malarial drugs, bright light therapy, luzindole, malaria, melatonin, Plasmodium falciparum, MELATONIN BIOSYNTHESIS, Cyclic AMP, SIGNAL TRANSDUCTION PATHWAYS, malarial parasite cell cycle

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Published on: 09 May, 2012
Page: [139 - 147]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/187221412800604635
Price: $58

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