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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Melatonin: its possible role in the management of viral infections-a brief review

Michela Silvestri and Giovanni A Rossi*

Author Affiliations

Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy Unit, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy

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Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2013, 39:61  doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-61

Published: 3 October 2013

Abstract

Melatonin, a versatile molecule, is synthesized by the pineal gland but also by other organs, including gastrointestinal tract, retina, thymus, bone marrow, and by leukocytes. Besides playing an important role in various functions of the body, including sleep and circadian rhythm regulation, melatonin also shows immunoregulatory, free radical scavenger and antioxidant functions. Because of these latter characteristics melatonin has also been found to be effective in fighting viral infections in a variety of experimental animal and in vitro studies. These data suggest a possible therapeutic potential of melatonin in human virus-induced disorders.

Keywords:
Antioxidant; Inflammation; Encephalitis viruses; Respiratory syncytial virus