Melatonin: From neurobiology to treatment

Giovanni Biggio, Francesca Biggio, Giuseppe Talani, Maria Cristina Mostallino, Andrea Aguglia, Eugenio Aguglia, Laura Palagini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Melatonin, the major regulator of the sleep/wake cycle, also plays important physiological and pharmacological roles in the control of neuronal plasticity and neuroprotection. Accordingly, the secretion of this hormone reaches the maximal extent during brain development (childhood-adolescence) while it is greatly reduced during aging, a condition associated to altered sleep pattern and reduced neuronal plasticity. Altogether, these properties of melatonin have allowed us to demonstrate in both experimental models and clinical studies the great chronobiotic efficacy and sleep promoting effects of exogenous melatonin. Thus, the prolonged release formulation of melatonin, present as a drug in the pharmaceutical market, has been recently recommended for the treatment of insomnia in over 55 years old subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1121
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


  • Aging
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Melatonin
  • Neuronal plasticity
  • Neuroprotection
  • Pregnancy
  • Wake/sleep cycle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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