Melatonin and its use in atherosclerosis and dyslipidemia
Konstantin V Danilenko, Yulia I Ragino
Institute of Internal Medicine, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia
Abstract: A review of pineal melatonin synthesis, regulation, and physiological effects indicates that not only does melatonin act as a hormonal signal of darkness, but also that it possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Although oxidation and inflammation play a pivotal role in atherogenesis, no studies have investigated administration of melatonin for human arterial atherosclerosis. However, 13 clinical trials have investigated use of melatonin in dyslipidemia, which is a close correlate of atherosclerosis. The results of these clinical trials, particularly the five that are placebo-controlled, are inconclusive as to whether melatonin can normalize the blood lipid profile. Significant confounders in these studies might be a phase shift of the cholesterol rhythm by melatonin, a posture effect at venipuncture, uncontrolled diet during the course of melatonin intake, and the phenomenon of regression to the mean. Thus, future studies are required, which should also consider use of higher doses of melatonin and/or measurement of oxidized forms of cholesterol-containing particles (which are the most aggressive in relation to atherogenesis) in addition to lipidic fractions.
Keywords: melatonin, serum lipids, atherosclerosis, clinical trials
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