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Effects of melatonin on infant and child development

Melatonin synchronizes central but also peripheral oscillators (fetal adrenal gland, pancreas, liver, kidney, heart, lung, fat, gut, etc.), allowing temporal organization of biological functions through circadian rhythms in relation to periodic environmental changes. Measures of melatonin are considered the best peripheral indices of human circadian timing. Various physiological effects of melatonin are described, including antioxidant actions, bone formation, reproduction, and cardiovascular, immune or body mass regulation. Given these physiological effects, we have discussed the potential benefits of melatonin with regard to brain or gastrointestinal protection, psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular diseases and oncostatic effects. As we discussed in several papers, the high number and diversity of melatonin effects opens important perspectives for melatonin as a biomarker of certain disorders and also as a preventive and therapeutic application (in particular in the field of autism as we are currently testing).

Project team lead
Sylvie Chokron