|1: Immunol Lett. 1987 Dec;16(3-4):355-61.
Melatonin: a principal neuroimmunoregulatory and
anti-stress hormone: its anti-aging effects.
Pierpaoli W, Maestroni GJ.
Institute for Integrative Biomedical Research, Ebmatingen, Switzerland.
Major environmental variables such as daily and seasonal changes of light and
temperature regulate the daily circadian variations of synthesis and release
of the pineal neurohormone N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine (melatonin). Melatonin
has now been shown to be a potent immunoregulatory agent, and to be able to
antagonize the immunosuppressive effects of acute anxiety stress in mice, as
measured by antibody production, by thymus weight, and by the capacity of
stressed- and evening-melatonin-treated mice to react against a lethal virus.
Both psychogenic factors and infectious agents such as viruses can act as "stressors"
and induce an immunosuppression. Their combination is a determinant for the
course of infectious diseases and, perhaps, cancer. Circadian (evening)
melatonin possesses thus the singular ability to up-regulate the
immunosuppression of stressed mice. This effect of melatonin is not exerted
directly on immunocompetent cells, but mediated via the endogenous opioid
system upon antigen-activation of T cells. Melatonin being a short-lived
hormone with negligible side-effects which is rapidly degraded and eliminated
by the body, the use of melatonin offers a new approach to the physiological
control of stress and stress-related infectious diseases. In addition,
melatonin could be used for the potentiation of primary immunization (vaccination)
against antigens of the most varied nature which do not evoke a robust or
longlasting secondary (memory) response. The regulatory function of pineal
melatonin is discussed also in relation to hematopoiesis, to its oncostatic
effects, and to its possible dual role in reproduction physiology and
generation of immunocompetence and tolerance during ontogeny.
PMID: 3327818 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]