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Med Sci (Paris) ; 38(1): 89-95, 2022 Jan.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642032


Melatonin is a naturally occurring molecule derived from tryptophan. Melatonin is a key player in relaying the circadian rhythm between our environment and our body. It has also a key role in rhythming the seasons (more production during long nights and less during short ones) as well as in the reproduction cycles of the mammals. Melatonin is often and surprisingly presented as a molecule with multiple therapeutic properties that can fix (or help to fix) many health issues, such as diseases (cancer, ageing, virus-induced affections including COVID-19, etc…) or toxicological situations (metals, venoms, chemical such as adriamycin [doxorubicin], methotrexate or paclitaxel). The mechanistics behind those wonders is still missing and this is puzzling. In the present commentary, the main well-established biological properties are presented and briefly discussed with the aim of delineating the borders between facts and wishful thinking.

TITLE: Mélatonine - Petit précis à l'usage des trop enthousiastes. ABSTRACT: La mélatonine est une molécule naturelle dérivée du tryptophane. Son rôle est de servir de relai entre la rythmicité jour/nuit et notre corps. Elle sert donc de marqueur circadien : concentration haute pendant la nuit et basse pendant la journée. Elle sert aussi de marque saisonnière : plus les nuits sont longues et plus longuement elle est produite (et vice-versa), ce qui a un rôle primordial dans les cycles reproductifs des animaux. Mais elle est aussi affublée de multiples propriétés thérapeutiques concernant la plupart des maladies humaines, du cancer à la COVID-19 en passant par l'infection par le virus Ebola, ainsi que de capacités thérapeutiques vis-à-vis de multiples toxicités (métaux, venins, produits chimiques comme l'adriamycine [doxorubicine], le méthotrexate ou le paclitaxel). Alors que l'enthousiasme à propos de cette molécule est troublant, l'assise scientifique de ces descriptions est dans le meilleur des cas faible et dans la plupart des cas, inexistante. Dans ce commentaire, les données scientifiques bien établies liées à la mélatonine sont résumées et brièvement discutées, en tâchant de redessiner les limites entre ce qui est connu et bien établi et ce qui reste du domaine du fantasme.

Circadian Rhythm/drug effects , Communication , Melatonin/pharmacology , Melatonin/physiology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Melatonin/therapeutic use , Reproducibility of Results , Seasons
J Pineal Res ; 70(2): e12702, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-894785


Melatonin was discovered more than 60 years ago. Since then, several seminal discoveries have allowed us to define its function as a neuroendocrine hormone and its molecular targets in mammals and many other species. However, many fundamental issues have not yet been solved such as the subcellular localization of melatonin synthesis and the full spectrum of its molecular targets. In addition, a considerable number of controversies persist in the field, mainly concerning how many functions melatonin has. Altogether, this illustrates how "immature" the field still is. The intention of this opinion article is to note the controversies and limitations in the field, to initiate a discussion and to make proposals/guidelines to overcome them and move the field forward.

Melatonin , Alzheimer Disease/drug therapy , Animals , Antioxidants , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans