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J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2014 Jan;40(1):1-11. doi: 10.1111/jog.12177. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Melatonin and female reproduction.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, Ube, Japan.


Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is secreted during the dark hours at night by the pineal gland. After entering the circulation, melatonin acts as an endocrine factor and a chemical messenger of light and darkness. It regulates a variety of important central and peripheral actions related to circadian rhythms and reproduction. It also affects the brain, immune, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, renal, bone and endocrine functions and acts as an oncostatic and anti-aging molecule. Many of melatonin's actions are mediated through interactions with specific membrane-bound receptors expressed not only in the central nervous system, but also in peripheral tissues. Melatonin also acts through non-receptor-mediated mechanisms, for example serving as a scavenger for reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species. At both physiological and pharmacological concentrations, melatonin attenuates and counteracts oxidative stress and regulates cellular metabolism. Growing scientific evidence of reproductive physiology supports the role of melatonin in human reproduction. This review was conducted to investigate the effects of melatonin on female reproduction and to summarize our findings in this field.


lipids metabolism; melatonin; ovary; pregnancy; reproduction

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